Bootstrap is a 13-classroom-hour Math Curriculum that has students create their own video games while covering many of the essential topics in the Common Core standards for Algebra. I am eager to bring this curriculum to students, because it create student buy-in that “hey, maybe there’s something to this math stuff after all.”
According to computinginthecore.org, computing and information technology will account for 4.2 million jobs in 2020, making up half of all STEM-related jobs. Additionally, computers will play more and more of a role in most economic sectors, including energy, defense, and healthcare. Exposure to the computer sciences is an essential component of a 21st-century education.
Bootstrap is a great way to provide students with this exposure while also engaging them in the mathematics that they they will be tested on, helping them to perform better on the standardized tests.
Here is a game I programmed, featuring the school mascot from Ragsdale High School. (Use the arrow keys to move, and reload the browser to start a new game.) This game is similar to what students will have created at the end of the 13 classroom hours.
Bootstrap teaches students the same type of in-depth analytical thinking that high-stakes standardized tests are designed to evaluate. The 9 units cover such deep-level concepts as conditional reasoning, geometric proof, and the connection between functions and precise measurement. Bootstrap is easily the best framework I have seen for teaching students about functions.
Bootstrap should only be taught under the supervision of an instructor with coding experience. Otherwise, the frustrations of a missign parentheses or wrong input-type could cause students to give up. That, being said, I believe it is important to get Bootstrap into as many classrooms as possible because of its high potential to engage students with computer programming, while also covering key topics on the Common Core Algebra curriculum.