The Bootstrap:Algebra Pathway applies mathematical concepts and rigorous programming principles to creating a simple video game, 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.

Teaching Remotely?

If you’re teaching remotely, we’ve assembled an Implementation Notes page that makes specific recommendations for in-person v. remote instruction.

The earlier version of our materials is also available en EspaƱol. Let us know if you can lend a hand translating the new version!

Ordering Student Workbooks?

While we give our workbooks away as a PDF (see below), we understand that printing them yourself can be expensive! You can purchase beautifully-bound copies of the student workbook from Click here to order.

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

Lesson Plans

The Numbers Inside Video Games

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

Coordinates and Game Design

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

Students learn to model arithmetic expressions with a visual tool for Order of Operations, known as "Circles of Evaluation".

Simple Data Types

Students begin to program in Pyret, learning about basic data types, operations, and value definitions.


Students learn how to apply Functions in the programming environment, encounter Image data types, and learn how to interpret the information contained in a Contract: Name, Domain and Range.

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 names for computed values. These names can be used repeatedly in different situations, jusr as they are in variable in math.

Making Flags

Students compose the image functions they’ve learned, applying their knowledge of coordinates to position differently-shaped and transformed images to create flags of varying complexity.

Making Game Images

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

Defining Functions

Students discover functions as an abstraction over a programming pattern, and are introduced to a structured approach to building them called the Design Recipe.

Solving Word Problems

Students discover functions as an abstraction over an arithmetic pattern, applying the Design Recipe to traditional word problems.

Restating the Problem

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

Functions for Character Animation

Students define functions that control the movement of the target and danger in their games

Surface Area of a Rectangular Prism

Students define the shapes used to build a rectangular prism, print them, cut them out, and build the rectangular prism. Then they use their model to calculate the surface area.

Problem Decomposition

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

Simple Inequalities

Students discover the Boolean data type. They then learn to identify solutions and non-solutions of inequalities.

Compound Inequalities: Solutions & Non-Solutions

Students build upon their understanding of booleans and simple inequalities to compose compound inequalities using the concepts of union and intersection.

Sam the Butterfly - Applying Inequalities

Students will apply their understanding of inequalities to keep game characters on screen.

Piecewise Functions

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

Player Animation

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.

Collision Detection - Distance and Inequality

Students use function composition and the distance formula to detect when characters in their games collide.

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 forum 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). CCbadge Bootstrap:Algebra by the Bootstrap Community is licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 Unported License. This license does not grant permission to run training or professional development. Offering training or professional development with materials substantially derived from Bootstrap must be approved in writing by a Bootstrap Director. Permissions beyond the scope of this license, such as to run training, may be available by contacting