CS First- A Free Computer Science Curriculum to Use in Your Class

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The purpose of this post if to introduce you to this interesting resource to use when teaching kids coding. CS First is a free computer science curriculum from Google for Education designed specifically for classroom use. CS First offers a wide variety of video-based activities, tools, instructional videos, lessons and several other materials that 'makes coding easy to teach and fun to learn'. Using video tutorials and block-based coding in scratch, students will be able to learn a number of coding skills right from the comfort of their own place.

The way CS First works is simple and easy. First, you need to set up a class online (you can find the instructions here). Once your class is ready, you can then add students and/ or co-teachers to your class by clicking on the 'People' icon on the left hand side. Next you add activities. 

How to create a teacher account in CS First?

Creating an account with CS First will help you make the best of this learning platform. Here is to create a teacher account:
  • Head over to CS First and click on Sign in
  • Choose 'I am a Teacher' and select which email account to use. Use your Google Workspace account if want to connect CS First with your Google Classroom.
  • Fill in your information
  • Connect your CS First dashboard to Google Classroom, if you want

How to set up a CS First class?

To create a class on CS First, you need to sign in to your teacher account and access your dashboard then do the following:

  • Click on the + button at the top left menu
  • Select 'Create a class'
  • Type in your class name and choose how you want your students to sign in to CS First. There are two options: 1) using Workspace for Education accounts, 2) using CS First student accounts.
  • Click on Create
  • From within your class page, click on +Add units. You will be directed to the main CS Fist curriculum page.
  • Click on Add to class button and select a one-hour lesson or multi-day unit
  • Confirm the class you want to add the unit to and choose your materials preference.

Activities provided by CS First

Once your class is created you can start adding activities. There are  two types of activities to add:

One-hour activities
One-hour activities, according to CS First,  "teach students the basics of block-based coding and Scratch, and  are great for anyone who is new to coding or for special one-day events such as conferences or  Hour of Code. One-hour activities are short 45 - 75 minute standalone activities designed for students to start and complete a coding project in one session.  Students will watch a series of videos and create one coding project in Scratch with opportunities to personalize their work using “Add-Ons."

Multi-day activities: 
Multi-day activities are based on students interests and vary in their complexity level. built. These activities are especially constructed to initiate students into the fundamentals of computer science. "Each multi-day activity consists of eight activities and include roughly 10 - 12 hours of content. For each activity, students will watch a series of videos and create one coding project in Scratch with opportunities to personalize their work using “Add-Ons".

CS First dashboard

As a teacher, you can use the dashboard in your class to track students progress, access students projects in Scratch, request physical materials and many more. It also enables you to stay connected with other teachers and learn more about how they and their students are using CS First.

Check out this page to learn more about CF First.