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Keywords: App, Technology, Programming, Coding, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving
Subject(s): Information Skills, Business, Robotics, Video, Animation, Technology, Science, Special Needs, Math
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: St Martin Middle School, Biloxi, MS
Planned By: Scott Beebe
Original Author: Scott Beebe, Biloxi
This unit will expose students to computer science as a means of computationally analyzing and developing solutions to authentic problems through mobile app development, and will convey the positive impact of the application of computer science to other disciplines and to society. This unit will also introduce students to the field of computer science and the concepts of computational thinking through the creation of mobile apps. Content will challenge students to be creative and innovative as they collaboratively design and develop mobile solutions to engaging real-world problems. Students will customize their experience by choosing a problem that interests them from the areas of health, environment, emergency preparedness, education, community service, and school culture. Because problems in the real world involve more than one discipline, students will be introduced to biomedical science concepts as they work on solutions for the specific problems they choose to tackle. The unit provides students opportunities for self-expression. Teams identify a personal or community problem of interest to them that can be solved with a mobile app solution. The problem can address issues such as health and wellness, the environment, school culture, emergency preparedness, education, community serviceóthe options are endless!

Lesson 1: Letís Create an App! (1st 9 weeks)
Students are introduced to the concept of pair programming, app development, and the MIT App Inventor development tool. They learn about the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern, app graphical design, event-driven programming, debugging, and algorithm creation using variables and conditional logic. They create engaging biomedical science apps and fun interactive games that apply these concepts and use basic user interface features, media, and animation.

Lesson 2: Taking It to the Next Level (2nd 9 Weeks)
Students further explore the concepts investigated in Lesson 1 and build upon their skills to use data in mobile applications. They create algorithms using loops to streamline repetition and iterate through lists, and create procedures to abstract the details of a task and reduce redundancy. They learn to organize and store persistent data collected from user input and device sensors.

Lesson 3: The App Challenge (3rd and 4th 9 Weeks)
Students apply all of the knowledge and skills they have acquired to design and create a mobile app solution for a personal or community problem. They apply the design process and computational thinking skills to decompose the problem into smaller modules. Following user-centered design principles, they design and create an appropriate user interface and program the app to produce the desired behavior.
This course would need a one time funding in order to get started and be repeated year after year. This equipment would reach thousands of students over the life of the program.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The creation of apps would flow into every subject area.
Students would continue creating apps upon the completion of each they would submit their apps for consideration to the Google Play Store.
Materials: Wacom Tablets, Flash/USB Drives
Other Items: 30 Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, $299.99 each, total of $8999.70