Lesson guidelines for the Hour of Code™ and Computer Science Education Week

Code.org hosts a variety of Hour of Code™ activities, lessons, tutorials, and videos on the Code.org, Hour of Code, and CSEdWeek website(s). The current list is at hourofcode.com/learn.

Want to submit your own self-guided game, teacher-led lesson, or activity that explains a computer science principle? Join this global movement and help participants around the world get started with an hour of code or go further with multi-lesson, day long, or week long activities.

After reading the guidelines below, feel free to submit your activity, lesson plan, tutorial, or video here:

After reading the guidelines, you can submit your activity through our Hour of Code™ Activity Submission page.

NEW for 2016:

  1. Submit more than one activity: If you’ve built activities for different levels, different ages, or other categories, we will now list your activities separately so each teacher can find the right thing for their classroom. So if you previously built a landing page and gave us a single URL to promote, don’t do that anymore. Submit each tutorial or activity individually.

  2. Intermediate and Advanced Lessons: In addition to lessons for teachers and students who are learning computer science for the first time, we will list learning experiences this year for computer science-savvy classrooms that want to go a little bit further! Help us by submitting lessons for more advanced classes. Advanced learners could be any age from 9 to 99.

  3. Lesson plans: In the past, we’ve highlighted student-guided, puzzle-style tutorials first, leaving a space for more ambitious teachers to find lesson plans for teacher-guided activities - whether unplugged or using open-sandbox programming environments. These will now all be represented similarly, letting teachers or students choose.

  4. Subject Areas: Have a great lesson idea that integrates Computer Science in Math? History? Language Arts? Science? Art? Or another subject? We’ve had numerous requests from teachers who want to connect the Hour of Code to their subject area (particularly with the upgraded ISTE standards for students including “innovative designer” and “computational thinker”). Teachers will be able to filter for their classroom type (grade band or subject area) so we’ll need your help filling in gaps to offer classroom activities or lesson plans that relate CS to every major subject area for different grade bands. We will always continue to have a “Computer Science” category for teachers who are looking for generic CS activities, which will be the default selection and how most of the current tutorials will be classified.

  5. Go beyond one hour: It’s called an “Hour of Code”, but we know that 85% of students and the majority of classrooms do more, and many schools celebrate all week for Computer Science Education Week. So when you submit your one-hour activity, if you have follow-on learning materials, please encourage students (or teachers) to continue beyond an hour, and we’ll help motivated classrooms find those activities that come with follow-on courses. We’ll even make a filter to allow longer activities (2~6 hours)

  6. Robotics: Previously, we only listed activities teachers could do without buying hardware. If you have a robotics activity that requires specific robotics hardware that teachers need to purchase, we will list these under a dropdown for teachers looking for these activities.

Unlike previous years, we will not filter the activity list—all activities that fit the basic criteria will be listed. Teachers will be able to filter and sort to find the best activities for their classroom.

Index:

What to Submit

Self-guided puzzle or game (example)

These activities are designed for students to self-direct through a tutorial. They don’t require much instruction from a teacher or teacher prep work.

Teacher Facilitated lesson (example, template)

Now that tens of thousands of educators have tried the Hour of Code, many classrooms are ready for more creative activities that teach the basics of computer science. To help more advanced teachers find inspiration, we'd like to collect and curate "teacher-led" lessons and activity plans for Hour of Code veterans.

One type of activity that we will feature for experienced teachers are “open sandbox” creation projects. Activities that encourage students to build their own app, game, website or other project. If facilitated properly, more open-ended activities can better showcase the creative nature of computer science.

Some educators may also prefer to host Hour of Code activities that follow a traditional lesson format rather than a guided-puzzle/game experience.

You can start with this empty template for your lesson plan.

Activities for teachers in other subjects/fields

We would love to collect lesson plans designed for different subject areas. For example, a one-hour lesson plan for teaching code in a geometry class. Or a mad-lib exercise for English class. Or a creative quiz-creation activity for history class. These can help recruit teachers in other subject areas to guide an Hour of Code activity that is unique to their field, while demonstrating how CS can influence and enhance many different subject areas.

Examples:

For students with disabilities

If you create an activity or tutorial that is designed for the vision-impaired, we’d love to highlight it for viewers with screen-readers.

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General guidelines for creating an Hour of Code activity

The goal of an Hour of Code is to give beginners an accessible first taste of computer science or programming. The tone should be that:

The activities should teach a computer science concept such as how the Internet works, loops, conditionals, or encryption. An activity can also teach about how computer science connects to real world occupations, events, or history. For example, teaching UX design to make apps that are meaningful for an audience or cause. We discourage activities that focus on the syntax of programming rather than the concepts. For example, we will not highlight activities that teach HTML. Similarly, we discourage block programming lessons that focus on setting/changing configuration options rather than learning how to model an algorithm or process.

Technical requirements: Because of the wide variety of school and classroom technology setups, the best activities are Web-based or smartphone-friendly, or otherwise unplugged-style activities that teach computer science concepts without the use of a computer (see http://csunplugged.com/). Activities that require an app-install, desktop app, or game-console experiences are ok but not ideal. We will not list activities that require sign up or payment. (Robotics activities can require robotics purchase.)

Student-led (Self-Guided) Format: The original Hour of Code was built mostly on the success of self-guided tutorials or lessons, optionally facilitated by the teacher. There are plenty of existing options, but if you want to create a new one, these activities should be designed so they can be fun for a student working alone, or in a classroom whose teacher has minimal prep or CS background. They should provide directions for students as opposed to an open-ended hour-long challenge. Ideally, the instructions and tutorials are integrated directly into the programming platform, to avoid switching tabs or windows between the tutorial and the programming platform.

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How to submit

Visit the Hour of Code™ Activity Submission page and complete the questions to submit your activity.

What you’ll need:

Additional things you’ll need when submitting Lesson Plans

Additional things you’ll need when submitting Online Activities

Additional things you’ll need when submitting Robotics

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How activities will be evaluated

A committee of computer science educators will rank submissions based on qualitative and quantitative metrics, including survey results from a broader set of educators. Unlike previous years, we will not filter the activity list—all activities that fit the basic criteria will be listed. Teachers will be able to filter and sort to find the best activities for their classroom.

The rubric for evaluating activities and lesson plans will look for the following criteria on all activities and rank them accordingly:

If the review committee rates the activity a zero in production quality (due to bad bugs or instructions that make it very hard to use), in promoting learning in underrepresented groups (due to racist/sexist material), in educational value (does not teach CS concepts), or fun/engaging (due to being difficult/discouraging for students to work through), the activity will not be listed.

In addition, in order to be listed, all activities must:

Teachers and students will be able to search through and filter our list of activities based on filters such (grade, experience level, subject, hardware, etc.). By default, we will show lesson plans and activities first that:

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Suggestions for designing one hour self guided tutorials

You can include either the CSEdWeek logo (small or big) or the Hour of Code logo in your tutorial, but this is not required. If you use the Hour of Code logo, see the trademark guidelines below. Under no circumstances can the Code.org logo and name be used. Both are trademarked, and can’t be co-mingled with a 3rd party brand name without express written permission.

Make sure that the average student can finish comfortably in an hour. Consider adding an open-ended activity at the end for students who move more quickly through the lesson. Remember that most kids will be absolute beginners to computer science and coding.

Include teacher notes. Most activities should be student-directed, but if an activity is facilitated or managed by a teacher, please include clear and simple directions for the teacher in the form of teacher-notes at a separate URL submitted with your activity. Not only are the students novices, some of the teachers are as well. Include info such as:

Incorporate feedback at the end of the activity. (E.g.: “You finished 10 levels and learned about loops! Great job!”)

Encourage students to post to social media (where appropriate) when they've finished. For example “I’ve done an Hour of Code with ________ Have you? #HourOfCode” or “I’ve done an #HourofCode as a part of #CSEdWeek. Have you? @Scratch.” Use the hashtag #HourOfCode (with capital letters H, O, C)

Create your activity in Spanish or in other languages besides English. ]

Explain or connect the activity to a socially significant context. Computer programming becomes a superpower when students see how it can change the world for the better!

Make sure your tutorial can be used in a Pair Programming paradigm. This is particularly useful for the Hour of Code because many classrooms do not have 1:1 hardware for all students.

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Trademark Guidelines

Many of our tutorial partners have used our trademark "Hour of Code" on their web sites. We don't want to prevent this usage, but we want to make sure usage falls within a few limits:

  1. Any reference to "Hour of Code" should be used in a fashion that doesn't suggest that it's your own brand name, but that it rather references the Hour of Code as a grassroots movement. a. Good example: "Participate in the Hour of Code™ at ACMECorp.com". Bad example: "Try Hour of Code by ACME Corp".
  2. Use a "TM" superscript in the most prominent places you mention "Hour of Code", both on your web site and in app descriptions.
  3. Include language on the page (or in the the footer), including links to the Hour of Code, CSEdWeek and Code.org web sites, that says the following: a. “The 'Hour of Code™' is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.”
  4. No use of "Hour of Code" in app names.

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Tracking Pixel

In order to more accurately track participation we ask every tutorial partner to include 1-pixel tracking images on the first and last page of their Hour of Code tutorials. The starting pixel-image must be on the start page only and the finish pixel-image must be on the last page of your tutorial. Do not include either pixel on any interim pages of your tutorial.

This will allow us to count users who do your Hour of Code tutorial. It will lead to more accurate participation counts for your tutorial. If you integrate the pixel at the end it will also allow us to measure tutorial completion rates.

If your tutorial is approved and included on the final tutorial page, Code.org will provide you with a unique tracking pixel for you to integrate into your tutorial. See example below.

NOTE: this isn't important to do for installable apps (iOS/Android apps, or desktop-install apps)

Example tracking pixels for AppInventor:

IMG SRC = http://code.org/api/hour/begin_appinventor.png
IMG SRC = http://code.org/api/hour/finish_appinventor.png

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Promoting your activities, CSEdWeek, and Hour of Code

Please promote your activity to your network! Direct them to your Hour of Code page. Your users are much more likely to react to a mailing from you about your activity. Use the international Hour of Code campaign during Computer Science Education Week as an excuse to encourage users to invite others to join in, and help us reach 100 million total participants.

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