Programming 301

A fast-paced introduction to block programming for beginners in middle school where they create simple interactive programs with a focus on game design. Request Quote

Course Summary
  • Grades 7 - 8
  • Beginner level
  • 17 lessons
  • Tynker Blocks
    • Web
Course Includes
  • 17 lessons
  • 111 activities
  • Enhanced Creativity Tools
  • Automatic Assessment
  • Tutorials and Reviews
  • Coding Puzzles
  • DIY Projects
  • Quizzes
  • Teacher Guides
  • Answer Keys
No previous coding experience required.

Programming 301 Lesson Plan

Lesson: Start Screen and Controls
Time: 60+ mins


In this lesson, students will learn how to program an arcade game that includes a start screen! Coding concepts from this lesson include: Start Screen, Movement, and Rotation Style..

New Code Blocks

  • : Set how an Actor behaves when it rotates.
  • : Make the dragon look like its flying.


  • None


Students will...
  • Use code blocks to program Actors to fly and move around
  • Use code blocks to solve a puzzle module
  • Create an arcade game


  • Computers, laptops, or mobile devices (1 per student) with student account access to

Warm-Up (15 minutes)

  • Tell students that they’re going to be creating a game today that includes a start screen. Optional: Show students an image of a game’s start screen.
  • Ask students if they can think of computer or video games that use a start screen. What does the start screen say? (e.g., “Press Start”)
  • Ask students to brainstorm advantages of including a start screen in their game. (Suggested Answer: Start screens are helpful because they allow the user to start the game when they’re ready.)

Activities (45 minutes)

Facilitate as students complete all Start Screen and Controls modules on their own:
1. Introduction (Video)
  • Students are introduced to the upcoming activity by playing an arcade-style game.
2. Concepts (Video)
  • Dan, the dragon rider, introduces three coding concepts:
    • Start Screen- Students will interact with code blocks that have a custom event called “dan.shapeshift.”
    • Movement- Dan explains how the given script can make an Actor look like it’s walking.
    • Rotation Style- Students will interact with code blocks to see how the three different rotation styles (i.e., all-around, left-right, don’t rotate) affect Dan.
3. Control the Dragon (DIY)
  • In this DIY (do-it-yourself) project, students will follow step-by-step directions to program a dragon to fly around the Stage using arrow keys (web) or by tilting their screen.
  • Are students struggling to change the direction in which the dragon flies? Check that they’re changing the value of the “point in direction” code block.
4. Add a Start Button (DIY)
  • In this DIY project, students will add to their game by creating a start button that lets the user start the game when they’re ready.
  • Point out to students that the start button in this game keeps the dragon hidden until the button is clicked (web) or tapped (mobile).
5. Learn to Fly (Puzzle)
  • To solve this puzzle module, students will need to fix the dragon’s controls and start button. Students are provided a sample of what their end result should look like. Can they move the dragon across the Stage while avoiding obstacles?
  • Give a hint for the start button: Tell students to broadcast the “game.start” message to the other Actors.
6. Create a Game (DIY)
  • In this DIY project, students will apply concepts and code blocks learned in this lesson to create their own arcade-style game! The project is mostly blank, so students will need to add Actors from Tynker’s Media Library and grab code blocks from the “Blocks” tutorial tab. Students can also use saved Actors and code from previous lessons by using the backpack tool:

    You can learn more about the backpack tool here:
  • Are students struggling to code their Actors? Tell them to look at the code in the previous modules as a reference.
7. Quiz (Multiple-choice)
  • Students will answer 5 multiple-choice questions to review concepts from this lesson.

Extended Activities (10 minutes)

More Practice
  • Ask students to add a start screen or keyboard controls (for web) / tilt controls (for mobile) to a project or game from a previous lesson. Encourage students to test and debug their programs until they work as expected.

U.S. Standards

  • CCSS-Math: MP.1, MP.7
  • CCSS-ELA: RI.7.4, RI.8.4, 6-8.RST.3, 6-8.RST.4, 6-8.RST.7
  • CSTA: 2-AP-10, 2-AP-13, 2-AP-16, 2-AP-17
  • CS CA: 6-8.AP.10, 6-8.AP.13, 6-8.AP.17
  • ISTE: 1.c, 1.d, 4.d, 5.c, 5.d, 6.b

U.k. Standards

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
  • Understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking [for example, ones for sorting and searching]; use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem.
  • Create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability.
  • Understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns.