Lesson 1: Project - Innovation Simulation Part 1


The class begins a simulation which will continue on at different points throughout the unit. In this simulation, students take on the roles of different stakeholders in school communities converging at a convention where they eventually will deliver a proposal on the best computing innovation for a Future School. In this lesson, students explore what a computing innovation is, do a brainstorm activity, reflect on their character role, and finally learn how to research an innovation.


In this unit students will cover information related to computing innovations needed for the Curricular Requirement for the AP Computer Science Principles exam. This lesson sets the stage with a simulation.


Lesson Modifications

Warm Up (5 mins)

Activity (35 mins)

Wrap Up (5 mins)

View on Code Studio


Students will be able to:

  • Identify a computing innovation
  • Understand how to conduct research on a computing innovation


  • Prepare the role badges
  • Review the Innovation Simulation Planning Guide


Heads Up! Please make a copy of any documents you plan to share with students.

For the Teachers

For the Students

Teaching Guide

Lesson Modifications

Attention, teachers! If you are teaching virtually or in a socially-distanced classroom, please read the full lesson plan below, then click here to access the modifications.

Warm Up (5 mins)

Start the Simulation


Welcome to the Future School Convention. You have been chosen to attend this convention because you represent an important stakeholder in the broader school community. Together with a small group you will brainstorm and research computing innovations that you believe will have a positive impact on a future school. At the end of the convention, your team will pitch your best idea to a panel of judges.

Teaching Tip

Small Classes: If you have less than ten students, you can leave out the PARENT role and divide into groups of 4-5.

Large Classes: More than one student can have the same character assignmnet, as long as they are not in the same group. You may also opt to use the blank badges and nameplates to create your own characters. Consider the school counselor or the bus driver.

Group: Place students in groups of 5-6.

Distribute: Hand out a random role card to each group. Each group should have at least one TEACHER, STUDENT, STAFF, PARENT, and ADMIN. Students will need

Do This: Each students should tape their badge to their shirt and place their nameplate on their desk after folding on the marked lines. When the nameplates and badges are out, students should be in simulation mode.

Teaching Tip

Discussion Goal

Goal: The introductory activity sets the stage for the simulation project, which will run throughout the unit. Encourage students to stay in their roles and speak from their specific points of view.

You role involves being the ultimate "role keeper". If you buy-in to the simulation, your students will have a greater chance of fully participating and keeping engagement high.

Do This: Read over your role sheet and introduce yourself to your group.

Activity (35 mins)


Computing Innovations are created by people to solve problems. They include programs as part of how they function. They can be physical (e.g., self-driving car), non-physical computing software (e.g., picture editing software), or non-physical computing concepts (e.g., e-commerce). The way lives are lived has changed because of computing innovations. Let's rewatch a video to remind ourselves of this fact.

Video: Play Computer Science is Changing Everything. (End at 4:40)

Innovation Simulation Project

Step 1 - Brainstorm (10 mins): Teams spend five minutes brainstorming computing innovations they believe would be beneficial to the Future School. Students should be considering if the innovations include programs as an important part of their function. If not, it's possible that it is not a computing innovation. Remind students to stay in their roles.

Distribute: Innovation Simulation Project Guides

Step 2 - Reflect (10 mins): Students use this time to consider the wants and needs of their characters and what types of computing innovations would and would not appeal to them. Students write their reflection in the Project Guide.


Before your teams get started investigating computing innovations for Future School, we want to make sure everyone understands how to conduct the necessary research. Let's examine an innovation that is not related to schools. Let's consider an innovation that would benefit long distance travel.

Teaching Tip

This may take some practice. We recommend doing this a few times before class on your own, to assess where things may be tricky.

It's important to model to students how to use search terms to narrow down to a computing innovation of interest.

Step 3: Model doing a Google search with your students to determine a computing innovation related to long distance travel. You might directly google the term, search out articles, or turn to Wikipedia. After you have found a computing innovation that is promising, model filling out the table in the Project Guide. You can project a copy of the Project Guide while doing this, flipping back and forth between the guide and the website you are using. You do not need to fill out the last section in the table, but you should discuss with your students how they will fill this section out.

Wrap Up (5 mins)


Thank you delegates for beginning the process of identifying computing innovations for The Future School. I'm looking forward to hearing your proposals soon.

As a team, you will need to work effectively together, evaluating and considering these computing innovations. Effective teams work on communication, consensus buildng, conflict resolution, and negotiation. You will address these skills throughout the project!

Do This: End the day by instructing students to put away their badges and nameplates. You may want to collect them so they are not lost.

Discussion Goal

Goal: A computing innovation is designed to solve a problem.

Prompt: What is the purpose of a computing innovation?

Journal: (Click through animation to see definition). Students add to their journal the definition for computing innovation.

Assessment: Check For Understanding

Check For Understanding Question(s) and solutions can be found in each lesson on Code Studio. These questions can be used for an exit ticket.

Question: How has your life benefited from a computing innovation? Note: You are out of the simulation for this question! Speak from your own personal experiences.

Standards Alignment

View full course alignment

CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)

IC - Impacts of Computing
  • 3A-IC-24 - Evaluate the ways computing impacts personal, ethical, social, economic, and cultural practices.
  • 3A-IC-27 - Use tools and methods for collaboration on a project to increase connectivity of people in different cultures and career fields.
  • 3B-IC-25 - Evaluate computational artifacts to maximize their beneficial effects and minimize harmful effects on society.


CRD-1 - Incorporating multiple perspectives
CRD-1.A - Explain how computing innovations are improved through collaboration.
  • CRD-1.A.1 - A computing innovation includes a program as an integral part of its function.
  • CRD-1.A.2 - A computing innovation can be physical (e.g., self-driving car), non-physical computing software (e.g., picture editing software), or non-physical computing concepts (e.g., e-commerce).
CRD-1.C - Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills during collaboration.
  • CRD-1.C.1 - Effective collaborative teams practice interpersonal skills, including but not limited to: ●       communication ●       consensus building ●       conflict resolution ●       negotiation
CRD-2 - Developers create and innovate using an iterative design process
CRD-2.A - Describe the purpose of a computing innovation.
  • CRD-2.A.1 - The purpose of computing innovations is to solve problems or to pursue interests through creative expression.
IOC-1 - While computing innovations are typically designed to achieve a specific purpose, they may have unintended consequences
IOC-1.A - Explain how an effect of a computing innovation can be both beneficial and harmful.
  • IOC-1.A.1 - People create computing innovations.
  • IOC-1.A.2 - The way people complete tasks often changes to incorporate new computing innovations.
  • IOC-1.A.5 - Advances in computing have generated and increased creativity in other fields, such as medicine, engineering, communications, and the arts.
IOC-2 - The use of computing innovations may involve risks to your personal safety and identity
IOC-2.B - Explain how computing resources can be protected and can be misused.
  • IOC-2.B.1 - Authentication measures protect devices and information from unauthorized access. Examples of authentication measures include strong passwords and multifactor authentication.
  • IOC-2.B.10 - All real-world systems have errors or design flaws that can be exploited to compromise them. Regular software updates help fix errors that could compromise a computing system.
  • IOC-2.B.2 - A strong password is something that is easy for a user to remember but would be difficult for someone else to guess based on knowledge of that user.
  • IOC-2.B.3 - Multifactor authentication is a method of computer access control in which a user is only granted access after successfully presenting several separate pieces of evidence to an authentication mechanism, typically in at least two of the following categorie
  • IOC-2.B.4 - Multifactor authentication requires at least two steps to unlock protected information; each step adds a new layer of security that must be broken to gain unauthorized access.