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0. About VELA
This site hosts digital activities from Thinking Outside the Box, a NSF STEM+C and Core R&D project at SRI International. This project ran from 2015-2018.
On this page, you can download print lesson plans and worksheets that accompany these digital activities, in the draft form in which they were tested during our classroom-based research. These are not final or commercially-polished print materials but are workable classroom materials.
You can also use the digital activities without these lesson plans and worksheets, though you will need to read them first to understand the activities. In addition, most of the digital activities are sequenced into sections that involve “passcodes;” the teacher can control students’ rate of progress through an activity by releasing passcodes over the course of the class. If you are not following our lesson plans precisely, once you understand the general form of an activity, you can quickly access the passcodes you need from Passcode Cheatsheets here.
All of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You are free to copy and distribute it for non-commercial purposes only, but not to distribute derivative works based on it.
1. Draft Digital Lesson Plans
Students access our digital activities directly from graphical links on the front-page of this site (http://csforall.sri.com). Teachers access supporting materials here:
A. Graphical Looping
B. Cats & Ladders
C. 3 Switches
D. Alarm Clock
In addition to these digital activities, the project produced and tested a variety of unplugged activities, focused both on fundamental concepts and on Scratch-specific programming constructs. An example of these activities is Story Variables (PDF).
2. Scholarly Work & Publications
- 2017 NSF Video Showcase
- Grover, S. & Basu, S. (2017). Measuring Student Learning in Introductory Block-Based Programming: Examining Misconceptions of Loops, Variables, and Boolean Logic (paper at SIGCSE 2017)
- Grover, S., Jackiw, N. & Lundh, P. (2017). Integrating Dynamic Mathematics to Advance Learning of Computing Concepts for Diverse Student Populations. (structured poster session at AERA 2017)
- Grover, S., Jackiw, N. & Lundh, P. (2018). Concepts before Coding: The Importance of Classroom Milieu and Activity Design for Student Engagement with Computer Science Concepts (ICLS 2018) (structured poster session at AERA 2017)
- Grover, S., Jackiw, N., Lundh, P. & Basu, S. (2018) Combining Non-Programming Activities with Programming for Introducing Foundational Computing Concepts (ICLS, 2018)
- Jackiw, N. & Grover, S. (2017). Comic Strip Narrative: Introducing Control Flow in Middle-School Programming (in preparation)
- Jackiw, N. Introducing Abstraction Before Coding in Middle School: Dynamic Expressions in the VEAWorld Environment (in preparation)
- Lundh, P., Grover, S., Jackiw, N., & Basu, S. (2018). Concepts Before Coding: Instructional Support for Introductory Programming Concepts in Middle School Computer Science. (AERA, 2018)
- ________. Non-Programming Digital Interactives to Advance Learning of Introductory Computing Concepts for Diverse Student Populations (submission to Interactive Learning Environments - in review)
- ________. Designing a Robust Assessment for Introductory Computer Science & Computational Thinking Concepts (in preparation)
(edit date: April 2018)