Embracing change has been my theme song for the past few months.  I’m traveling through my digital world and meeting roadblocks along the way.  My plan is listed below, but the teacher in me can’t get the formatting to look correctly on this website.  To view the template in the correct format, open this document UbD Template viewable in Word.

My additional comments and information are at the bottom of this page.  Trust the fact that I’m learning a new lesson in change and that this information is extremely valuable and will carry over into my personal and professional life.


Unit Title:  Create and Solve Problems Through Coding

Established Goals:

•Learners will analyze the fundamental basics of computer coding in Scratch.


Learners will be able to independently use their coding skills to solve problems, troubleshoot, think logically, and create programs and games.



Learners will understand that computers must follow a set of step-by-step instructions to perform any given task.

Learns will understand the “if/then” loop and what effect it has in the coding process.

Learners will understand the basics of programming a simple game.


Can computers actually THINK without a set of instructions?

Can learners provide step-by-step instructions on how to navigate from school to home?

Which coding program will be best suited for learners?

How will coding impact learners in their day-to-day high school life and future learning?

Will the learners be able to think logically and still be creative in the process?


Learners will know how to create a script with at least three commands that incorporate background, sound, and movement.

Learners will know how to analyze the role of computer algorithms.

Learners will know the importance of how computers follow step-by-step instructions.

Learners will be skilled at creating a “Hello” script.

Learners will be skilled at collaboration with classmates and be able to predict the results of examples.

Learners will be able to review and share example videos related to Scratch and coding.

Learners will be able to discuss and evaluate components of Scratch.

Stage 2 – Evidence

Evaluative Criteria Assessment Evidence
  • Online assessment tool – Quizizz
  • Discussions
  • Peer-to-peer Google docs
  • Presentation on “How Computers Think vs. How Humans Think”

  • Discuss and analyze the importance of computer programming, following directions, and reading instructions.
  • Reflect on Scratch PowerPoint presentation with the class.
  • Script runs properly.
  • Discuss the “if/then” loop.
  • Research and discuss other online examples.

Stage 3 – Learning Plan

Summary of Key Learning Events and Instruction

  1. Begin with an entry question (Can computers think without human input/interaction?) to hook learners into considering how humans and computers interact.  H
  2. Introduce the Essential Questions and discuss the unit performance tasks (“Hello” script).  W
  3. Key vocabulary terms are introduced in the PowerPoint presentation.  E
  4. Generate “how-to” questions with step-by-step instructions.  Discuss and collaborate with class.  R, O
  5. Create “Hello” script, share script with class, review and discuss.  E, R
  6. Research for other “how-to” Scratch videos online.  Learners will collaborate and share with class.  E
  7. Work in small groups to create a new script.  Script must incorporate “if/then” loop.  T, R
  8. Discuss and review using Google Docs on how computers think and the importance of human interaction.  R
  9. Learners will take the online assessment.  Learners will be given the opportunity to retake the quiz for a better grade after review and collaboration with peers.  E-2, T
  10. Learners will collaborate and present to class their findings on “How Computers Think”.  E-2

WHERETO is an acronym for considering and self-assessing the key elements and logic of a learning plan:

Where:  ensuring that the student sees the big picture, has answers to the “Why?” questions, knows the final performance expectations as soon as possible

Hook:  immersing the student immediately in the ideas and issues of the unit, engaging the student in thought-provoking experiences/challenges/questions at the heart of the unit

Equip & Experience:  providing the student with the tools, resources, skill, and information needed to achieve the desired understandings; and successfully accomplish the performance tasks

Rethink:  enhance understanding by shifting perspective, considering different theories, challenging prior assumptions, introducing new evidence and ideas, etc.  Also: providing the impetus for and opportunity to revise prior work, to polish it

Evaluate:  ensuring that students get diagnostic and formative feedback, and opportunities to self-assess and self-adjust

Tailor: Personalize the learning through differentiated instruction, assignments and assessments without sacrificing validity or rigor

Organize: Sequence the work to suit the understanding goals (e.g., questioning the flow provided by the textbook, which is typically organized around discrete topics)

Once again, I’m reminded that Change is Constant.  The first time I heard that phrase was in August of 2000 sitting in a professional development meeting in Saudi Arabia.  I’ll never forget that day – not only was it 120 degrees outside, but the humidity was at least 80 percent.  That was my first year to teach in Saudi and I learned all about CHANGE.

Just as Dewey defined 100 years ago, we must learn basic skills and knowledge with any given subject.  But in order to retain that information and transfer the skills to real life events, we need to learn how to “do” through a hands-on approach.  The traditional approach to teaching 100 years ago isn’t working in our fast-paced, technology-rich, and ever-changing society.  As a high school technology teacher, I’m still amazed at the skills my learners show up with each year.  Although they may have the latest and greatest gadgets, there are still foundational and basic skills that are missing in their toolbox.

The 21st-century learner should be taught how to think, troubleshoot, dig for information, solve problems and be able to produce electronic documents.  These learners will enjoy the learning process if they are engaged and the teacher is the facilitator instead of the boss of the classroom.  If the learners have fun during the process, chances are the learning will be retained for a longer period of time.  Just imagine the world of tomorrow.  Our learners are the innovators for the next generation.  What will they create if we just allow that creativity to grow?

I used Fink’s backward design process (Fink 2003), to create my 3-column table for my last assignment.  I’ve used outlines and goals throughout my career, but have never used this exact example.  I do believe that the backward design forces the instructor to think outside the box and design a unit, lesson, or complete course with the end in mind.  Fink’s table is an effective tool for both the learner and the instructor but it isn’t as detailed as the UbD table.  I feel that this type of planning allows for more ownership as a learner while still providing structure and organization for both the learner and the instructor.

By creating both tables, I found them to be extremely useful in the planning process.  Because my innovation plan involves blended learning, I feel that the Understanding by Design template will be more useful.  Learners will be more excited about a new unit, lesson, or course if they are “hooked” at the beginning.  Learners will also understand the “why” behind the lesson because each component of the WHERETO will be addressed.  Although the UbD template is more time consuming and provides more details, I feel that it is the most beneficial tool to use for my method of teaching and learning.



Wiggins, G.P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design, Expanded 2nd edition. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.