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Instructional Materials

This section provides recommended Computer Science programs and instructional material a teacher may use for their Computer Science instruction or students may use to explore the field of computer science.

Many of the materials were used in prior workshops hosted by the Boise State Computer Science department faculty and staff during the summer for secondary students and teachers.  Check out the CS department web site for upcoming summer workshops.


Please work with your IT department to ensure the applications are approved for your school’s environment and any external web sites are unblocked (e.g. App Inventor is a web based application which requires a user to create a gmail account to store their projects).

Prior Workshops

Computer Science Principles

The computer science principles workshops are designed to introduce the seven “big ideas” in the AP Computer Science Principles curriculum.  The materials are intended for secondary students and teachers.

  • The Computer Science Principles via Music and Art uses EarSketch and Processing to introduce the seven “big ideas”.
  • The Mobile Computer Science Principles (MCSP) workshop uses mobile apps development on the App Inventor 2 platform to introduce the seven “big ideas”.  These applications are developed to work on an Android device such as a phone or tablet.

Coding is Cool

  • Level 1 workshop introduces computer science and coding to high school students using App Inventor 2 mobile apps to develop functioning mobile applications for an Android device.
  • Level 2 workshop introduces computer science and coding to high school students using Hybrid Art with Processing and the Finch Robot.


  • The GenCyber workshop enables participants to understand security procedures, practices, and threats regardless of their knowledge level in IT/CS.
  • The workshop introduces knowledge of cyber security first principles, increases the curiosity of the participants about the field of cyber security, encourages participants to seek further education in cyber security and motivates participants to seek a career in cyber security.

For School Administration

  • The Computing by Design workshop assists professional school counselors, administrators, and teachers nationwide with information and resources to guide moreand more kinds of — students to explore computing education and careers.

Computer Science Courses

CS Exploration Courses

There are two main introductory computer science courses designed for middle and early high school students.

The Exploring Computer Science (ECS) curriculum consists of 6 units which provides an introduction to the world of computer science and problem solving suitable for all students.   The curriculum package comes with daily instructional lesson plans for teachers, plus supplemental extension resources.  Some schools offer a reduced one semester version using a subset of the units (we recommend units 1, 2, and 4), while others offer the full two semester program.

CS Discoveries is an introductory course from that empowers students to engage with Computer Science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun.  This course is recommended for grades 6-10.

CS Principles

Several Computer Science Principles courses have been developed that incorporate the College Board’s AP Computer Science Principles Curriculum Framework. To further evaluate the options look explore the following: Available CS Courses.

  • The Boise State CS 501 course for secondary teachers utilizes much of the Mobile CSP material.
    • The Mobile CSP Professional Development program aims to prepare teachers to teach the College-Board endorsed Mobile CSP Advanced Placement course. The PD is designed to be accessible to teachers new to computer science as well as experienced CS teachers.
    • The Mobile CSP community has workshops available for secondary teachers to learn the course curriculum refer to their site for Professional Development for High School Teachers.
  • AP CSP 5-day workshops are offered during the summer to prepare teachers to instruct the AP Computer Science Principles course beginning the fall after the teacher completes the professional development training.
    • Idaho Digital Learning provides professional development opportunities to any and all educators in the State of Idaho.
    • If you have questions about the Idaho professional development training, contact Idaho Digital Learning at 208-342-0207 or email

Additional CS Educational Materials


Scratch is a web based programming language and an online community where students program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation. As students create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically.


EarSketch is a free educational programming environment. Its core purpose is to teach coding in two widely used languages, Python and JavaScript, through music composing and remixing. This learning environment was developed first at Georgia Institute of Technology under Prof. Jason Freeman and Prof. Brian Magerko.

App Inventor 2

The Mobile Computer Science Principles course is supported by the Mobile Computer Science Principles Project (Mobile CSP).  The course is funded by the National Science Foundation to provide a broad and rigorous introduction to computer science based on App Inventor, a mobile programming language for Android devices. The course is based on the College Board’s emerging Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles curriculum framework for introductory computer science.

App Inventor is a great site for learning how to program mobile android apps. The site provides on-line book and video lessons that step you through the creation of successively more complex apps.


Processing is a great entry-level text based programming language, development environment, and online community. Processing was initially created in 2001 as a software sketchbook to teach computer programming fundamentals in a visual context.

Processing is a dialect of the “Java” programming language: the syntax is similar, but adds custom graphic and interactive features which allows a student to write interesting programs and see visual results right from the beginning.

A great feature about Processing is the ability to expand its capabilities via libraries.  For example, one library provides extensions that interact with the Finch Robot designed for Computer Science education.

Finch Introduction

Getting Started

Additional Workshop Materials

Computer Science is more than programming tools or languages, it is also about new methodologies and developing 21st century skills. Thus consider utilizing some of the following material in your class.  The”unplugged” materials do not require a computer.

Additional Computer Science Material (videos, lesson plans, teaching practices, …)

“Unplugged” Computer Science Material



  • These workshops were hosted by Boise State’s Department of Computer Science in partnership with the Boise State Concurrent Enrollment program.

The IDoCode project funded by National Science Foundation CS10K award #1339403

Boise State’s Department of Computer Science is a recipient of a Google CS4HS award.

  • The Google CS4HS program is an annual funding program to improve the computer science educational ecosystem by providing funding for the development and execution of CS teacher professional development worldwide.
  • To learn more about CS4HS, please visit the CS4HS website.

Image of the Boise State College of Engineering Department of Computer Science logoImage of the Boise State Concurrent Enrollment Logo