Beginning of Year Activities


Getting a school year started by building relationships with students and having them understand classroom norms/procedures is crucial.  The following activities can be used at the beginning of the year to get students' minds ramped up for the productive struggle that comes with learning code.

Offline Computer Science Related Activities

Suggested activities that demonstrate how computers interpret code Approximate time of activity

     Harold the Robot

     20 - 30 minutes

     Programming Languages

     40 - 50 minutes

     My robotic friends

     45 minutes

     Envelope Variables

     50 minutes

These activities were found at CS Unplugged Activities and Unplugged Activities. For more options, click the links.


Google's CS First Unplugged Activities series introduces concepts on building a cost-effective computer network, encryption (cyber-security), computer imaging/pixelation, and some career connections.  There are some accompanying online activities for some of what's in the series, however, all of it can be done offline.  Here is the CS First Unplugged Booklet which can be completed in 1 - 2 hours

Online Coding Activities (No prior coding experience necessary)

Self-paced activity sequence that uses Python's turtle library. This sequence is easy to follow and can be loads of fun!  The duration of this activity sequence can vary greatly depending on how interested and involved the students get. It can be used for at least one class period though.

Microsoft MakeCode Arcade: Online tutorials and block code "playgrounds" for creating games and graphical designs. These are standalone activities that allow students to also code in Python.  Times can vary greatly and there are many types of activities to allow students to find what interests them most.

Online/Offline Logic Puzzles

Suggested puzzles that promote general logical thinking Approximate time of activity

     Logic Grid Puzzle: Electric Vehicles

     10 - 15 minutes

     Zebra Puzzle: Bring Your Own Device

     20 - 30 minutes

These activities were found at Brainzilla. For many more puzzle options (easy to difficult), click the link.

Have you found a great activity?

If you have found a great activity for students to engage their CS/logical thinking and would like to share, please send us a link and/or description of the activity to

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