The staff pick for this blog comes from John Queen, one of NICERC’s Curriculum Development Specialists.
This module piqued my interest from the very beginning. HTML is a widely used coding language that is very important to the way we view things, especially on the internet. The Apply Coding module from STEM: Explore, Discover, Apply introduces students to HTML and CSS coding as they take on the roles of web developers for a travel agency called Travelex. After a cyber attack, their website goes down and the students must recreate it from scratch. They accomplish this by using open source programming applications Brackets and Google Chrome.
After learning the fundaments, students brainstorm ideas for their final website design and choose the best design using decision matrices. In the midst of coding their prototype website, the students are given two prompts to choose from to write about: 1) how to advertise in the event of the internet permanently crashing, or 2) predict the advance of advertising and travel due to a significant advancement in technology. Both topics are very intriguing and left open for the teacher and/or students to set up parameters for themselves about the timeline of the hypothetical instances. The prompts get the students thinking introspectively about how technology directly affects their lives.
Once the students answer the prompts and present their completed websites to the class, a period of reflection is always helpful to see where improvements can be made. If given the opportunity to redesign their websites, students will show improvement through some great and creative edits.
The Apply Coding module is really interesting because of its use of real-world coding via HTML and CSS. It is a great way to introduce a concept that can be very intimidating at first, but both practical and engaging in the end.
Apply Coding is part of NICERC’s STEM: Explore, Discover, Apply middle school curriculum. To gain access to this lesson along with a multitude of other great lessons for middle school and high school classes, click here.