The Bootstrap:Algebra Pathway applies mathematical concepts and rigorous programming principles to creating a simple videogame, and is aligned to National and State Standards for Mathematics, as well as the CSTA standards and K12CS frameworks. The module can be taught as a separate, standalone tech or CS class, or can be integrated into a mainstream math class, delivered by a math teacher with no prior CS experience.

In this series of lessons, students create a simple, 3-character game involving a player, a target and a danger. They design what each character looks like, and use mathematical concepts such as coordinate planes, order of operations, ratio and proportion, domain and range, function composition, word problems and the distance formula to detect collisions, handle keystrokes, and determine how they move and interact.

We provide all of our materials free of charge, to anyone who is interested in using our lesson plans or student workbooks.

Lesson Plans


Students reverse engineer a video game and research what takes to create a video game.

Coordinates & Estimation

Students review the importance and need for coordinates in the context of a video game and brainstorm a game of their own.

Order of Operations (Circles of Evaluation)

Students learn to model arithmetic expressions with the visual tool for order of operations and function composition known as Circles of Evaluation.

Domain and Range (Contracts)

Students encounter String and Image datatypes and use "contracts" to make sense of the domain and range of functions.

Function Composition

Students encounter new image transformation functions and strengthen their understanding of Circles of Evaluation by using functions within other functions.

Defining Values

Students learn how to define lines of code as a set value that can be used repeatedly in different situations, similar to a variable in math.

Function Applications

Students practice using a new function alongside previously-learned functions to choose images for their game.

Defining Functions 1

Students learn why and how to create their own functions.

Defining Functions 2

Students will apply the Design Recipe to a linear function problem.

Defining Functions 3

Students apply their skills in using the Design Recipe and writing purpose statements to a variety of word problems.

Function Applications 2 (Animation with Functions)

Students create the functions that will control animation in parts of their game.

Function Applications 3

Students take a closer look at how functions can work together by investigating the relationship between revenue, cost, and profit.


Students apply knowledge of inequalities to create compound inequalities.

Inequalities 2

Students use what they’ve learned about Booleans and inequalities to set screen boundaries in their game.

Piecewise Functions

Students will learn how one function can have different behaviors based on the input.

Piecewise Functions 2

Students apply their knowledge of piecewise functions to write a function to move the player in their game.

The Distance Formula

Students apply their knowledge of the Pythagorean Theorem and Circles of Evaluation to develop a function for the distance formula.

All the lessons

This is a single page that contains all the lessons listed above.

Other Resources

Of course, there’s more to a curriculum than software and lesson plans! We also provide a number of resources to educators, including standards alignment, a complete student workbook, an answer key for the programming exercises and a forums where they can ask questions and share ideas.

These materials were developed partly through support of the National Science Foundation, (awards 1042210, 1535276, 1648684, and 1738598).