This is the first in a series of lessons where students will make progress on building their own functional app. In this lesson, students brainstorm app ideas and sketch out user interfaces in preparation for the next lesson where they will begin building the apps with code.


Students will be able to:


This lesson kicks off a project that students will complete throughout the unit. The framing of this project is also important for how programming is presented overall. Students are encouraged to collaboratively design their projects, choose topics of personal interest, and build an app to meet the needs of other people. All of this is important as part of framing programming as a collaborative, creative, and socially situated pursuit.


Getting Started

Prompt: People design user interfaces to meet a user's needs, but they don't always get it right.

Discussion Goal: The goal here is to help students understand the importance of considering the end user when designing an app.

Some points that may come up:



Distribute: App Development Planning Guide - Activity Guide. Students will be using the Planning Guide for the rest of the unit. Read the Project Description together and make sure students understand the requirements. Direct students to the "Investigate" section.

Step 1: Brainstorm Topic Ideas

Group: Organize students into pairs.


Activity Guide: In their groups, students brainstorm topic ideas and add them to their worksheet.

Teaching Tip: Students have a lot of freedom in choosing their topics. If they are struggling with ideas, they could create an app for another class, for example: an overview of the periodic table for science class.

Step 2: Choose One Topic

Activity Guide: Working with a partner, students narrow down their ideas to one topic and explain what would be covered in their app.

Step 3: Survey Your Classmates

Activity Guide: The goal in this step is for students to understand the needs of their users. This will help inform the overall design of the app.

Step 4: Design the User Interface

Activity Guide: Student use the screen templates to sketch out the design of their app, including arrows or notes to show how different elements are connected.

Teaching Tip: After Step 4, you may want to check in with student groups to make sure their apps are doable and can be completed within the scope of the project.

Steps 5+ will be completed later on in the unit.

Wrap Up

Prompt: How did talking with the users of your app impact your design decisions?


Assessment: Check for Understanding

Question: Match each term with an example.



Standards Alignment