🔮Unit 1 Overview

How can code be used as a creative and expressive medium?


In this unit students get acquainted with the p5 canvas coordinate system, drawing shapes and colors on it. They are also introduced to the idea of functions and how to create their own functions that draw Programming concepts covered include calling built-in p5 functions with different parameters, working with variables (both built-in and custom), using controlled randomness, and abstraction.

Students are introduced to the p5 web editor and practice consulting the p5 online documentation. In the final project, students apply these skills to create an abstract album cover.

Nota Bene

We do not include a proper Unit 0 in this curriculum - the lessons begin with students thinking about p5.js. However, we strongly recommend planning a Unit 0 for your classroom to allow you to set a positive classroom culture and establish norms with your students. You can view a list of Classroom Culture && Teambuilders here.

NYS Standards

9-12.CT.4 Implement a program using a combination of student-defined and third-party functions to organize the computation.

9-12.CT.5 Modify a function or procedure in a program to perform its computation in a different way over the same inputs, while preserving the result of the overall program.

9-12.DL.1 Type proficiently on a keyboard.

9-12.DL.2 Communicate and work collaboratively with others using digital tools to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

Via optional lesson:

9-12.NSD.2 Explain the levels of interaction existing between the application software, system software, and hardware of a computing system.

Prerequisite Standards:

7-8.CT.7 Design or remix a program that uses a variable to maintain the current value of a key piece of information.

Suggested Duration

Approx. 18 - 25 Days, anticipating meeting once daily for a 45 minute class period.


None - this is the start of the unit! While some students may have some programming experience, we are assuming that they are coming in without any prior programming experience.

Overview of Instructional Materials

Each learning activity on the curriculum website has been broken down into 1-2 period lessons. The resources below are teacher-facing notes on the suggested implementation for the curriculum; they include structures for content delivery, suggestions for assessment, and resources for each lesson segment. At the end of each learning activity is a slightly longer project to serve as a summative assessment; at the end of the unit, there is an end of unit project.

We have noted some lessons with a ✨ that are potentially repetitive for students coming in with prior experience from a middle school sequence. We have also labeled some lessons with a 🤓 that we view as optional extensions for classrooms that would like a deeper dive or more targeted practice.

Teachers should review these materials and use them as they apply to their classroom. This is the suggested implementation, but it should be modified to fit student population, class period constraints, etc.

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