Unit Overview

This unit focuses on getting to know the App Inventor development environment as well as introducing several key enduring understandings related to abstraction, global impact, and creativity. The use of pair programming as a pedagogical tool and a means of promoting the computational thinking practice of collaborating is introduced. It sets the stage for the rest of the course, emphasizing the collaborative and creative nature of computing.

  • Specifically, students complete an introductory tutorial using images and sound in App Inventor in the first lesson. In later lessons, they build on this app by adding new features and enhancements. Finally, they are asked to express their creativity through design their own soundboard app.
  • Students also learn about the basic digital structure of computers - binary numbers - through a series of lessons that highlight the various levels and types of abstraction in computer hardware and software.
  • Finally, the first chapter in the Blown to Bits book is read and discussed by students. It introduces some key ethical considerations around the positive and negative impacts of computing.

CS Principles Framework

The lessons in this unit support the following:

Big Ideas Enduring Understandings
1. Creativity 1.2 Computing enables people to use creative development processes when using computing tools and techniques to create computational artifacts for creative expression of ideas or to solve a problem.
2. Abstraction 2.1 A variety of abstractions built upon binary sequences can be used to represent all digital data.
2.2 Multiple levels of abstraction are used to write programs or to create other computational artifacts.
4. Algorithms 4.1 Algorithms are precise sequences of instructions for processes that can be executed by a computer and are implemented using programming languages.
5. Programming 5.1 Programs can be developed to solve problems (to help people, organizations, or society); for creative expression; to satisfy personal curiosity or to create new knowledge.
5.2 People write programs to execute algorithms.
5.4 Programs are developed, maintained, and used by people for different purposes.
6. The Internet 6.1 The Internet is a network of autonomous systems.
7. Global Impact 7.1 Computing enhances communication, interaction, and cognition.
7.3 Computing has global effects — both beneficial and harmful — on people and society.

Computational Thinking Practices

The pedagogical practices introduced in this unit highlight the following Computational Thinking Practices from the CS Principles framework:

  • P2: Creating Computational Artifacts
  • P3: Abstracting
  • P4: Analyzing Problems and Artifacts
  • P5: Communicating

Ongoing Assessment

Lesson Time Learning Objectives Portfolio Reflection Self-Check Exercises Student Discussion Completed App
2-2 45 min 5.1.1, 5.1.2, 5.4.1
2-3 45 min 6.1.1, 7.1.1, 7.1.2
2-4 45 min 4.1.1
2-5 45 min 2.2.3, 5.2.1
2-6 45 min 4.1.1, 4.1.2
2-7 90 min 1.1.1, 1.2.1, 1.2.3, 1.2.4, 1.3.1, 5.1.1, 5.4.1
2-8 45 min 2.2.3
2-9 90 min 2.1.1, 2.1.2
2-10 45 min 2.1.1, 2.2.3, 5.1.1
2-11 90 min 2.1.1, 7.3.1
585 minutes (13 45-minute class periods)