As part of Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, our work in computer science education is critical to ensuring that everything students have the opportunity to learn basic computer skills. Microsoft MakeCode’s mission is to empower the next generation of technology creators with fun projects, immediate results, and block and text editors for learners at different experience and grade levels.
What is MakeCode Arcade?
MakeCode Arcade is a free online platform for creating retro-style video games using block-based or text-based programming. Using interlocking blocks as a development-friendly alternative to text-based programming languages, students of all skill levels can create projects and share an interactive multiplayer product in minutes.
While Arcade was designed for elementary and middle school students to develop practical basic coding skills, MakeCode Arcade offers an AP Computer Science Principles curriculum. This College Board-approved and endorsed program, suitable for high school students, offers game-based learning to increase student engagement and experimentation.
Level up in your class
With less than 30% of elementary and middle school teachers holding a degree in computer science or technical services, we recognize that there are multiple paths to computer science education.1. In addition to supporting student learning, MakeCode promotes teacher learning journeys with free professional development opportunities, customizable lessons, and access to tailored resources that don’t require pre-existing knowledge or expertise in coding material.
Whether you’re new to computer science, want to bridge the gap between computer science and curriculum, or are exploring the art of the possible with block-based programming, we encourage educators to familiarize themselves with MakeCode resources:
- Connect to our free professional MakeCode training and self-guided resources on Microsoft Learn. Pro Tip: We recommend starting with “Engage Learners Through Games with MakeCode Arcade” as a great starting point.
- Explore the skill maps, tutorials, and live coding sections of MakeCode Arcade.
- Check out our standards-aligned introductory IT curriculum.
- Visit and bookmark our teacher resource page on the MakeCode homepage.
- Share your ideas and partner with a teacher from another school subject.
Connect Arcade to your classroom
After reviewing some of MakeCode’s educational resources and tools, consider how you’ll use Arcade and block coding with your students:
- What are the natural links to your class with MakeCode Arcade? Coding naturally aligns with mathematical concepts such as coordinate grids, rotation, and variables, as well as problem solving and the arts. Moreover, computer science is an interdisciplinary subject; think about how you might partner with language arts, social studies, and other content areas to integrate computer science education into the curriculum. As a reminder, each skills card includes a learning outcomes document describing the specific objectives of the activity.
- What can you demonstrate with MakeCode Arcade? Show off a project you created to engage students and demonstrate how to get started with MakeCode Arcade.
- What activity can students do successfully on day one? Whether you do it in class or assign it as an individual activity, the Beginner Skills Map or one of our Hour of Code activities make great introductions for newbie coders.
- How can you elevate student work at the end of day one? Students feel a sense of purpose when they are able to share their final creations with a class or even a partner. Create a space to ensure students can explain their projects to a friend. Additionally, when completing skill cards, students are rewarded with a downloadable certificate and a digital badge upon reaching the trophy level.
Wakanda Forever and Hour of Code
We have two new engaging and entertaining experiences for Computer Science Education Week© 2022, which are already available for use in your classroom.
Hour of Code: “Coding a Carnival”
Celebrate this year’s CS Education Week with MakeCode Arcade’s Code a Carnival. Students will be introduced to game design by creating traditional carnival activities such as “Whack-the-Mole” and “Burstin’ Balloons”. In addition to guided tutorials, Code a Carnival provides a free, easy-to-use educational resource guide.
To bring your carnival to life, students can create multiplayer versions of their games to play with their friends, while putting their skills to the test. No matter their coding experience, every student (and teacher) can deepen their programming knowledge and have fun, while coding their own carnival game!
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Do you have any Black Panther fans in your class? Your school can learn the basics of coding by developing their own action-packed activity inspired by Marvel Studios© Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (in theaters November 11).
Ready to take the first step? Kick off your lesson with an introduction from Letitia Wright, the actress who plays Wakanda’s chief technologist, Shuri.
Once your students are familiar with their challenge, introduce them to the MakeCode Arcade Wakanda Forever tutorial. This activity contains step-by-step instructions and a corresponding lesson plan for the teacher, making it perfect for any class, regardless of their coding background.
For more Wakanda Forever-inspired content and the chance for your class to win an Xbox, go to xbox.com/wakanda-forever.
Power up with MakeCode
Ready to take your lessons to the next level? You can also integrate MakeCode with popular tools like Micro:bit and Minecraft Education Edition. MakeCode works with the affordable handheld called a micro:bit, students can create things like a soil moisture sensor or a DIY pedometer.
Does your school subscribe to Minecraft Education Edition? If so, did you know that you can use MakeCode to automate events and modify the virtual world of Minecraft? Visit Microsoft Learn to get started with block coding in Minecraft Education Edition.
Stay logged in
We encourage you to subscribe to our MakeCode blog to learn more, chat with other educators on our MakeCode forum, or visit the Microsoft Learn Educator Center to strengthen your knowledge of STEM, coding, and computer science. Don’t forget to follow @MSMakeCode wherever you scroll for the latest MakeCode news.
1 The Educator Landscape in Computer Science: Findings from a National Educator Survey | CCAA