Instructional Formats

CS First units and lessons are offered in three different instructional formats - integrated instructions, video instructions, and unplugged instructions. This article outlines the differences between the formats and what to expect in using each kind of lesson. 

Text-based Integrated Instruction

Step by step instructions are embedded into Scratch for CS First. Students work through instructions right next to the Scratch for CS First coding area. Instruction is scaffolded and includes hints, animated highlights, and text to speech features that students can use along the way for help.


Video-based Instruction 

Tutorial videos that are in a separate tab from the Scratch coding area. Students watch videos in one tab and navigate to a separate tab to code projects in the Scratch for CS First coding area. 

To find video-based lessons and add them to your class, follow these steps:

  • Go to your dashboard.
  • Click on Hour of Code on the top bar.
  • Scroll down to Lessons.
  • Click on Video Based Lessons.
  • Scroll down to find the lesson of your choice.
  • View or add it your class.


Unplugged Instruction 

Printable lessons that don't require computers to complete. Students engage with CS concepts through offline pen and paper activities with optional "plugged" extension activities in Scratch for CS First.

Instructional Formats Comparison


Text-based Integrated Instruction

Video-based Instruction

Unplugged Instruction


Instruction type

Multimedia: text, GIFs, videos

Video tutorial 

Pen and paper activities


Step by step instructions embedded into Scratch for CS First, designed for 1 or 2 students (on the same computer) to work independently through the lesson. 

Tutorial videos (average 4-8 mins long) for students to watch individually or as a class.

Printable lessons that don't require computers to complete.

Scaffolding available

  • Text to speech
  • Hints
  • Animated highlights
  • Closed caption and transcripts 
  • Closed caption and transcripts
  • Adjustable video playback speed
  • Solution sheets
  • Optional "plugged" extensions

Student experience

Students start the lesson inside Scratch for CS First. An instruction box directs them to move blocks, select sprites, and test their code, providing scaffolding such as hints, text to speech, and animated highlights along the way to help them out. Students move through the instruction boxes at their own pace. Moving forward and backward as needed. Never leaving the Scratch for CS First coding page. 

Students start the lesson in a tab containing the video. Students watch the video (4-8 mins) and then click a link that opens the Scratch for CS First coding page in a second tab. Students begin coding their projects, navigating back to the tab with the video for a review of the instructions. Videos have transcripts for students to read. 

Students start by reading about an inspiring Googler's journey to their career in CS. Then, individually or in pairs, students use printed materials (or online equivalents) to explore CS concepts that go beyond coding. Each activity is paired with optional "plugged" project in Scratch that demonstrates how the unplugged concept works with code.


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