Academics, Middle School

Middle School Students Combine Coding and Algebra

Eighth grade Algebra students are learning how to code throughout the year in a new project that combines computer science and the fundamentals of mathematics. The project involves using Bootstrap, a curricular module for students ages 12-16, which teaches algebraic and geometric concepts through computer programming. Bootstrap uses the coding language Racket.

Over the course of the year, students will code a side-scrolling action game, in which they define their own characters, themes, velocity of objects, and other aspects of the game. The students will receive code templates that purposefully include mistakes. They must correct the mistakes in order to create the game.

“The purpose of Bootstrap reinforces the big ideas in Algebra, such as functions and order of operations,” explains Algebra teacher Jennifer Ford. “Rather than simply memorizing a rule, the students have to actually understand it to make the code function and their game work.”

Members of the Algebra I teaching team attended a Bootstrap conference in summer 2018, learning how to best integrate the curricular module with the current Algebra I curriculum.

Algebra teacher Alex Chen has noticed the students have positively taken to the new curriculum. Says Alex: “The students are excited to see their finished video games at the end of the year.”