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Best Coding Tools for Middle School

Bottom line: Provides teachers with the best choice for a full unit or class on game design, and gives students a tool to help them realize their game-making dreams.

Enticing projects and inspiring videos offer anyone an intro to coding

Common Senseis the nations leading independent non-profit organization dedicated to empowering kids to thrive in a world of media and technology.

Cute, colorful coding platform caters to strong independent readers

Free to try. Each additional course is $5-$10 per student. All curriculum unlocks at $20 per student. Contact Codesters for a quote on professional development.

One of the best creation tools available for aspiring game developers

Bottom line: A great way to help motivated students create real apps, though others will need more support.

Bottom line: Thimble is an excellent, free resource for teaching students to code through experimentation.

Robots, Arduinos, and drones — the block coding app to rule them all

Bottom line: Solid intro to coding with diverse projects geared toward tween/teen girls; sets foundation to explore deeper level coding and logic activities.

Codecademy Pro accounts include all content from free account plus access to real-world scenarios to solve, online assessments, and advisors who will answer questions and guide your progress.

A free version has limited features. Educational licenses range from $30 per seat per year for desktop creation to $130 per seat per year for UWP and mobile.

Dungeon-crawling adventure where code is king

Ideal 2D game builder supports students to create, innovate

Bottom line: Limitless game options, reasonable cost, and extensive support make this programming environment perfect for an educational setting.

teach students safe and responsible technology use.

Bottom line: A fantastic and complete introduction to Android app programming concepts and methods.

Bottom line: A superb programming tutor, well worth the effort to keep students going.

3 Great Ways to Get Students Coding in the Classroom

Bottom line: Cargo-Bot is a simple concept that packs a challenging punch and teaches valuable programming skills.

Puzzlers use of real code fills niche in crowded learn-to-code genre

Emoji-based coding tool demystifies web design and animation

Bottom line: The well-designed Python lessons and user interface make this a great choice for serious coding instruction.

Best Picks for Early Childhood STEM Learning

Middle school CS platform offers stellar resources, organizing tools

Differentiated text-based coding makes for truly authentic experiences

Bottom line: A novel way to learn programming that will require student collaboration and extra adult support.

Bottom line: A well-planned, -produced, and -curated set of free resources bound to get kids hooked on learning to code.

Free to try up through level 30; individual accounts start at $39 per year. Home School subscriptions run $129 per year and allow for up to 5 students, along with opening up the teacher account, dashboard, and lesson plans. Contact CodeMonkey for classroom and school/district rates.

Bottom line: Here youll find resources for teaching with Scratch and a complete management tool to support student learning.

Inspiring platform teaches coding through remixing

Bottom line: With plenty of time and support, Scratch can help kids of all ages learn essential programming concepts.

Bottom line: Hub for Sphero robots draws crafty kids who love making into coding, and it empowers them to be collaborators.

A little robot with big personality brings code to life

Bottom line: Engaging interface and tutorials will empower budding game designers, but the price tag could be a deal-breaker for tight school budgets.

Single Education license (teacher or student) is $149 per year; Classroom license for 30 students and 1 teacher is $1699 per year. Custom quotes are available for schools and districts.

4 Fresh Approaches to Coding in the Classroom

Bottom line: Challenging programming game best for motivated learners.

Middle school is a perfect time to get students coding, but by then, students might be at different levels of familiarity. Weve hand-picked these tools so that students at every level of knowledge and achievement will find something useful, from more visual, building block-style coding tools great for beginners to advanced courses and tutorials that get students learning and using real languages to make apps, websites, and games. Whether students are playing a simple logic-based game or writing scripts to create the next big app, these tools are sure to get students thinking about what sort of language goes into the technology they use every day.

Families, educators, and policymakers turn toCommon Sensefor unbiased information and trusted advice to help them learn how to harness the positive power of media and technology for all kids.

Bottom line: While not the first to blend coding with play, CodeCombat offers a stable, engaging, and accessible model.

Fun, intuitive iOS-coding app great for newbies or pros

Cool robots and creative play make programming irresistible

Terrific hands-on coding practice with live feedback

Comprehensive resources including lesson plans, digital games, assessments,

Bottom line: If your middle school doesnt have a CS program or club, now you do!

Common Sense, Common Sense Media, Common Sense Education, and Common Sense Kids Action, associated names, associated trademarks, and logos are trademarks of Common Sense Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (FEIN 41-2024986).

Simple design, but challenging fun for budding programmers

Bottom line: Students will be empowered by custom-coding creations for a variety of platforms, but may need some reading support to complete lessons.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

Challenging puzzles teach with real code; best for more advanced kids

Challenging game helps kids learn to think like programmers

Headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Common Sense is the nations leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century.

Addictive, unique way to supplement coding instruction

Bottom line: A great intro to coding, with solid teacher support, gets kids using a real programming language and digging into some meatier concepts than other early coding tools.

Remix tool reveals code, can strengthen kids understanding of the web

Bottom line: Impressive tool for introducing block coding and robotics on a ton of devices.

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Jump-start future programmers with adaptive sandbox tool

Bottom line: From Cozmos engaging personality to endless programming possibilities, this little robot will capture your heart and spark imagination.

Bottom line: If iPads are available, this is an inspired choice for learning how to create and tweak code.

Great mobile app creation site has solid teacher resources

Great interface, flexible publishing options make game-making a snap

Full-featured tool makes teaching with Scratch easier than ever

Most Reliable and Credible Sources for Students

How to Introduce Students to Coding with Mozillas X-Ray Goggles

Individual licenses are free; classroom licenses are $10 per month and include more lessons and premium student access. School and district licenses are also available.

Bottom line: In this excellent coding application, in-game practice and real-time guidance crack open the world of programming and turn your students into whiz kids.

professional development for teachers, and family education materials to

Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program

Bottom line: Its a blast to use and an easy way to get experimentation and prototyping going with plenty of student choice — kids are really in the drivers seat!

If youre looking to begin coding lessons in your classroom, check out our Teaching Strategies for how toGet Started with Coding in Your Classroom.

Build a working iOS or Android app, even without coding experience

Bottom line: Emoji-based lessons engage and empower kids to explore web design and animation, with instant website creation.

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