Tag Archives: Cindy Gao

8th graders designed computer games in @BootstrapWorld during Algebra class with @mattgusto!

I learned about Bootstrap (@BootstrapWorld) from Cindy Gao of CSNYC (The New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education). Cindy locates, organizes, and publicizes awesome meetups and workshops for educators around the city. I attend many CSNYC events, and I always try to bring along other educators.

Back at the very start of the the school year, I approached Dr. Sabrina Goldberg (7th Grade Math) and Matthew Guastavino (8th Grade Math) about attending a two-day bootcamp for teachers to integrate Bootstrap into their curriculum so their students could learn math through coding and game design. As stated on Bootstrap’s website, “Unlike most programming classes, Bootstrap uses Algebra as the vehicle for creating images and animations, and is designed from the ground up to be aligned with Common Core standards for Algebra.

In January, Matt led a Bootstrap unit with his 8th grade Algebra students. They recently shared their games with the community, and Matt told me he and his students really enjoyed the experience. Here’s the game, Lizard Problem, created by Matt’s student, George. I love it when a plan comes together!

Sabrina, Matt, and Cait Bradley (Matt’s student teacher) will be offering a poster session at ISTE in Philadelphia in June. If you’re heading to ISTE, please visit their table and ask them about it:
Game On! Middle School Algebra through Coding and Game Design
Tuesday, June 30 from 10:30 am–12:30 pm.

As per Bootstrap’s website:

Bootstrap is a curricular module for students ages 12-16, which teaches algebraic and geometric concepts through computer programming. At the end of the module, students have a completed workbook filled with word problems, notes and math challenges, as well as a videogame of their own design, which they can share with friends and family. Our mission is to use students’ excitement and confidence around gaming to directly apply algebra to create something cool.

Bootstrap is proud to partner with two leading organizations: Code.org and CSNYC. Code.org and CSNYC allow us to bring our professional development, materials and support to teachers

Bootstrap also builds in a pedagogical approach to solving Word Problems called theDesign Recipe. Students solve word problems to make a rocket fly (linear equations), respond to keypresses (piecewise functions) or explode when it hits a meteor (distance formula). In fact, this same technique has been successfully used at the university level for decades.


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#tbt video of the @RubeGoldberg machine we made at last week’s #CSNYC meetup.

I love the CSNYC Education Meetup group and the amazing learning and networking opportunities organized by Cindy Gao (of the NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education) and Eric Allatta and Sean Stern (both are Computer Science Teacher at the Academy for Software Engineering). Check them out and discover the amazing Professional Learning Network they nurture!

Last week, @CSNYC partnered with the team behind htink and The Makery to have a meetup where everyone got to collaborate on Rube Goldberg machines — the ultimate goal was to pop a balloon with a needle. I was really proud of our contraption, though in the end, we were thwarted by a dull needle and a tough balloon…

Here’s a video from another group demonstrating that the whole point is to fail fast and prototype, prototype, prototype…

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