Successful Learning in Mobile CSP

This lesson reinforces important computational thinking practices. While this lesson does not directly address a learning objective in the CS Principles framework, it will help students to be more persistent in achieving those learning objectives. However, it is related to many of the dispositions or attitudes needed to be a successful computational thinker (Computational Thinking: Teacher Resources PDF):

  • Confidence in dealing with complexity
  • Persistence in working with difficult problems
  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • The ability to deal with open-ended problems
  • The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution
CSP Framework Lesson Activities
CPT: Analyzing Problems and Artifacts
  • Evaluate a proposed solution to a problem.
  • Locate and correct errors.
  • Explain how an artifact functions.
  • Justify appropriateness and correctness of a solution, model, or artifact.
Students watch a video and discuss the brain's malleability. Students also reflect on a time they overcame a struggle to learn something new.

Professional Development

The Student Lesson: Complete the activities for Mobile CSP Unit 1 Lesson 1.7: Successful Learning in Mobile CSP.


  • Presentation system (LCD projector/Interactive whiteboard)
  • Markers and poster-sized paper
  • Optional: Pencils and paper for students

Learning Activities

Estimated Length: 50 minutes

  • Hook/Motivation (5 minutes): Ask students to think about a time when they struggled with learning something new. Have them quietly write a few sentences about how that made them feel and what they did in response to having to struggle.
  • Experiences and Explorations (25 minutes): Watch and discuss this video from Khan Academy, Grow your brain, that covers the science behind how the brain learns new ideas. Here are some starter dicussion questions:
    • How do people become more intelligent?
    • How does the diagram of the neurons “At birth vs. At age 6” demonstrate this?
    • How does the second diagram of the nerves of the animal living in a cage vs. an animal living with other animals and toys demonstrate this?
    • How are our brains like muscles?
    • When do our brains grow the most? (Clarify here that it is when you get an answer wrong and then figure out strategies to correct your mistake!)
  • Rethink, Reflect and/or Revise (20 minutes):
    • As a teacher, share a personal story about a time you had to work hard to get better at something and relate it to the video. In this story, highlight:
      1. Hard work
      2. Strategies
      3. Help from others
      Have the students reconsider the time they struggled from earlier. How else could they have felt about the situation? How else could they have responded to it?
    • Review the Strategies for Being a Successful Learner section on the student side to encourage students to use them during the course.

Assessment Opportunities

  • Have students take the mindset survey
  • Exit slip - collect students written responses about a time they struggled
  • Class discussion - were the students able to identify strategies to overcome struggles?

Differentiation: More Practice

Here are some additional resources if students are struggling with lesson concepts:

  • Watch "Neuroplasticity" by Sentis (2:03). This is a good visual introduction to the concept of how the brain can be rewired as we learn and think differently. Discuss the question "What is neuroplasticity?"
  • Letter to a Future Student: Take a few minutes to think of a time when you overcame a struggle to learn something. It could be anything - from adding negative numbers to learning a technique in baseball to writing an introduction for a difficult essay. Reflect on the times when you failed at first but through perservering your brain created new neural connections and you eventually became better at the task at hand. Write a letter to a future student of your class about this struggle. In at least five sentences, tell this student your story and give them advice on what they should do next time they encounter an obstacle when learning something new. An example is below. Feel free to be as creative as you would like.

Differentiation: Enrichment

This lesson plan is adapted from one by Khan Academy and PERTS, Growth Mindset Lesson Plan. The end of the lesson plan includes several additional activities you could do with your students including a research project, a poster, and "The Power of Belief" TED Talk discussion.

Teaching Tip: Reinforce Learning Strategies and Growth Mindset

Continue to remind students throughout the course of the learning strategies discussed today. It is especially helpful to have a discussion about learning difficult topics before starting some of the harder concepts in the course. (We'll remind you in the lesson plans of this idea.)

Periodically during the school year, you might want to take some time to revisit the concept of mindset and touch base with students about how they see it applied to the course. Here are some additional videos that could serve as the basis for discussions:

Background Knowledge: Growth Mindset

Professional Development Reflection

This lesson sets the tone for the students in the course and in the classroom environment, but it is something that needs to be reinforced by the teacher on a regular basis. One example of this includes the feedback students receive from the quiz questions at the end of each lesson on the student side. These have been adapted from a variety of materials related to growth mindset (see list under Background Knowledge). Discuss with other teachers in your professional development program how you could continue to cultivate a growth mindset in your students throughout the year, either through the additional activities and resources mentioned above or other ways that might be more appropriate for your situation?

4. Exit Slip

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I am confident I can teach this lesson to my students.

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What questions do you still have about the lesson or the content presented?