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Bootstrap:Algebra

Download a one-page summary of the course

Bootstrap:Algebra applies mathematical concepts and rigorous programming principles to creating a simple videogame, and is aligned to National and State Standards for Mathematics, as well as the CSTA standards and K12CS frameworks. The module can be taught as a separate, standalone tech or CS class, or can be integrated into a mainstream math class, delivered by a math teacher with no prior CS experience.

In this series of lessons, students create a simple, 3-character game involving a player, a target and a danger. They design what each character looks like, and use mathematical concepts such as coordinate planes, order of operations, ratio and proportion, domain and range, function composition, word problems and the distance formula to detect collisions, handle keystrokes, and determine how they move and interact.

In addition to learning programming, students who take Bootstrap:Algebra have shown improvement on standard, pencil-and-paper algebra tasks.

You can also find previous versions: Spring 2021, Fall 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2014, and Fall 2013.

Pyret or WeScheme?

Bootstrap:Algebra is available in both the Pyret and WeScheme platforms. Unlike other programming languages, both Pyret and WeScheme put mathematical behavior first:Number, Variables, and Functions all work the same way in these languages as they do in a math book!

So why use one over the other?

Bootstrap:Algebra in Pyret is designed for teachers who want a smooth bridge to traditional CS classes - including Bootstrap:Data Science and Bootstrap:Reactive! Pyret looks like Python, so students will find the syntax of languages like Python, Javascript, Java, etc. very familiar.

Bootstrap:Algebra in WeScheme is designed for maximum ease-of-use in a math class. The syntax is slightly simpler than Pyret, and is more closely-optimized for math learning goals. In exchange, the syntax looks much less like other programming languages. Teachers who are laser-focused on math-outcomes alone may find this to be an easier fit.

Attend a Workshop

Get trained to become a Bootstrap teacher, by attending one of our Professional Development Workshops! You can see the list of currently-scheduled workshops here, or you can contact us to bring a workshop to your school or district!

Backed by Research

Bootstap:Algebra has been shown to improve student performance on standard, pencil-and-paper algebra tasks while engaging students of any gender in the act of building a game. See our peer-reviewed publications here:
  1. Assessing Bootstrap:Algebra Students on Scaffolded and Unscaffolded Word Problems, (SIGCSE, 2018)
  2. Creativity, Customization, and Ownership: Game Design in Bootstrap:Algebra, (SIGCSE, 2018)
  3. Transferring Skills at Solving Word Problems from Computing to Algebra Through Bootstrap, (SIGCSE, 2015)