Bootstrap is a FREE curriculum for students ages 12-16, which teaches them to program their own videogames using purely algebraic and geometric concepts.
Our mission is to use students' excitement and confidence around gaming to directly apply algebra to create something cool.
We work with schools, districts and tech-educational programs across the country, reaching hundreds of students each semester. Bootstrap has been integrated into math and technology classrooms across the country, reaching thousands of students since 2006.
Programming. Not just writing code.
Knowing how to write code is good, but it doesn't make you a programmer.
Sure, Bootstrap teaches students a programming language. But most
importantly, it teaches solid program design skills, such as
stating input and types, writing test cases, and explaining code to others.
Bootstrap builds these elements into the curriculum in a gentle way
that helps students move from a word problem to finished code.
After Bootstrap, these skills can be put to use in other programming environments, letting students take what they've learned into other programming classes.
Watch the video to hear students, engineers, teachers, and the Bootstrap team describe what excites them about Bootstrap!
Real, Standards-Based Math
Unlike most programming classes, Bootstrap uses algebra as the vehicle for creating images and animations. That means that concepts students encounter in Bootstrap behave the exact same way that they do in math class. This lets students experiment with algebraic concepts by writing functions that make a rocket fly (linear equations), respond to keypresses (piecewise functions) or make it explode when it hits a meteor (distance formula). In fact, many word problems from standard math textbooks can be used as as programming assignments!
The entire curriculum is designed from the ground up to be aligned with Common Core standards for algebra. Bootstrap lessons cover mathematical topics that range from simple arithmetic expressions to the Pythagorean Theorem, Discrete Logic, Function Composition and the Distance Formula. The program is based on cognitive science research and best practices for improving critical thinking and problem solving.
Bootstrap is the creation of Emmanuel Schanzer, M.Ed. (in the hat). After earning a bachelors of Computer Science (Cornell University), he worked in the private sector for a number of years as a programmer (Microsoft, Vermonster, and others) until he switched careers and became a math teacher, starting out in Boston Public Schools. He is now a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Schanzer is supported by Kathi Fisler
at WPI, Shriram Krishnamurthi
at Brown, and Matthias Felleisen
at Northeastern, Danny Yoo (Lead Developer), Emma Youndtsmith (Northeast Regional Manager) and the extended team behind
Program By Design.
We would like to thank the following, for their volunteer and financial support over the years: Apple, Cisco, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), Facebook, Google, as well as the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation, IBM, Jane Street Capital, LinkedIn, Microsoft, The National Science Foundation, NVIDIA, Thomson/Reuters, and the generous individuals who have given us private donations.
If you would like to support Bootstrap with a donation, send a check made out to Brown University to our PI, Shriram Krishnamurthi,
at his mailing address. Be sure to include this letter, indicating that you wish for the funds to be put towards Bootstrap. Once your check is received, we'll send you a reciept for your tax records.