KS3 Computing resources

My KS3 Scheme of Work – 2016/17

Here you’ll find all of my KS3 Computing resources for 2016/17 – a constant work in progress.  Not everything is finished. Please adapt & build on, but share alike and give credit. All work here is original or (more likely) borrowed & adapted from projects by other brilliant teachers that I’ve worked with or met on Twitter.  I’ve credited where appropriate. Most projects have video tutorials that are built into the lessons.  There are also pupil self-assessment, mark sheets and homework booklets where I’ve had the time to build them in.

Whilst I’m happy to share my resources free of charge, it does cost me for annual web hosting and Dropbox storage.  If I’ve saved you a few hours/a weekend etc etc of planning time then a donation of a couple of pounds towards these costs would be gratefully received, thanks.

Assessment Framework

We’ve just (July 2014) dotted the i’s on our new assessment framework for Computing at KS3.

As always, the game has changed in the last 12 months and I’m now working on life without levels, which will be shared when it is completed.

So we’ve just finished planning life without levels into Y8 after running it through Y7 this year.  All the Y7 & 8 resources that we’re currently using therefore have our school’s flavour of LWL as part of the lessons.  It’s pretty easily adaptable though.

This post explains how we developed the levelling criteria for KS3, and the file is here. I’m always adapting & replacing units but have left all of my old work here too .  Some units have been replaced in my SOW (as I unfortunately don’t have time to teach them all), but are still valuable as part of a balanced curriculum.

Everything is a work in progress! Please adapt and build on, but share on when you do.  It’s nice to be nice. Andy

Please use my original work under a Creative Commons, Non-Commercial,  Share Alike License

Year 7 – All units have life without levels assessment criteria

Introduction to computers – A introductory unit covering hardware, software, binary and networks.  Adapted from work by @geekynicki

Binary – One of mine. Pupils convert binary to denary, create a converter program in Scratch and then move on to ASCII and image representation.  

E Safety – Based on @Largerama & @DWSM’s #ictcurric work. Also includes use of online graphics creator Canva.

Introduction to Scratch – An introduction to Scratch via breakdance and the classic arcade game Pong projects.. Adapted from Jon Bridgman’s (@gripweed1) awesome unit of work.

New tutorial microsite for this unit here.

Year 8 – Units Updated for Life Without Levels 2016-17

Scratch – Virtual Pet.  Pupils use procedures, variables, loops and lists to create a virtual pet that dies if you neglect it. More fun than it sounds! Based very closely on Marc Scott’s project from bournetocode.com

New tutorial microsite for this unit here.

SmallBasic – An introduction to text based programming including the INSULT-O-MATIC 5000 and a safecracker program.

New tutorial microsite for this unit here.

Web design (HTML/CSS) – Revised for 2014, pupils code a website in Notepad++.  Based on the bournetocode.com unit.

New tutorial microsite for this unit here.

Control –  All my own work!  Apart from the learning placemat idea by@tecoed that is.

Heroes of Computing – A data collection/handling and photoshop unit to find out about public awareness of computing ‘rock stars’ and produce a magazine cover with one of them as the cover star. Based around ideas by @MattBritland.

Year 9

Scratch to VisualBasic –  Takes learners from visual programming into the world of text based code whilst reinforcing key programming topics.  Not finished yet – pop back in a bit!

New tutorial microsite for this unit – working on it!

Flash Animation – Tweens and all that jazz.

How the Web Works   – The Internet and WWW, IP addresses and DNS servers covered in this introduction to networks. Based very closely on Marc Scott’s project from bournetocode.com  

E-Safety – Using Thinkyouknow’s ‘First to a Million’ resources.

Older Units

Units that have been replaced but are still useful.

Digital learners – Based on the #ictcurric project by @Largerama.  Using the network, email, advanced searching & copyright.

Scratch Building Pacman. Original idea by @gideonwilliams

Extra arcade game Scratch projects can be found here.

Web design (Dreamweaver) – Based on a SOW by the marvellous @andyfield

Spreadsheet Quiz – Another one of mine, and one of the few units I’m 99.9% happy with. Adding some VB this year to stretch the higher ability pupils.

From Scratch to Java – Takes learners from visual programming into the world of text based code whilst reinforcing key programming topics. New for 2015/16!

Future Technology – A Prezi unit where students explore the potential impact of emerging tech. Some SOLO and Public Critique skills thrown in too.

Databases – The band ‘Blue Screen of Death’ need a fan database. You are the expert! A bit of data mining too.

Image editing – Part Neale Wade & @andyfield’s Photoshop unit, part @mattbritland’s ‘Magazine Design’ project.

Option Units

Our Y8 & 9 can opt for an extra hour of Computing per week.  This is ace as it gives me a fab test bed for lots of new & exciting topics – ideal for the new curriculum. Here are some links to some of the projects that I’ve been working on:

Blogging project – one of mine.  Pupils research the topic and produce a blog post about their findings using Kidblogs.

Scratch game design – Pupils complete a propoal for and create their own original game.

Greenfoot project – Video tutorials based around the Greenfoot ‘Little Crab’ project downloadable from the Greenfoot website.

Javascript project  – Introduction to alert boxes, variables, strings, numbers and IF. Based very closely on the brilliant Bournetocode.com project.

HTML project – based around the codeavengers introduction to HTML web tutorials.

Flash Animation project – Adapted from @mwclarkson‘s great work on his Mukoku site. Videos I mostly use the excellent and FREE screencast-o-matic website to make my videos, and upload most things to my Youtube channel .

Good Stuff by Others:

Matt Britland‘s rather spiffy KS3 programme of study.

Simon Johnson‘s excellent GCSE Computer Science resources.

Dan Aldred‘s great GCSE Computer Science website.

Ben Davisinspirational blog about teaching primary coding.

The Computing at School community – a great mine of resources for the new Computing programme of study.

Bournetocode.com – a quite brilliant site with lots of excellent KS3 projects.  From Marc Scott (@coding2learn) and the dept at Bourne Grammar School.

@mwclarkson’s lovely Mukoku resources site.

The Neale Wade VLE – awesome stuff from an inventive department.

The Interactive classroom – loads of resources from @geekynicki.  Good for Kodu fans.

CS4FN – Computer science as magic?  Inspirational ideas.

Digital Schoolhouse  – some of the most comprehensive and relevant resources I’ve seen for teaching computing. Uses a lot of Scratch too.

Programming Dojo. A nice site to compare programming languages with an educational focus.

Learn to code with these great FREE sites and resources:

Primary – Y7

Code IT – @baggiepr’s SUPERB primary computer science resource site.  Really brilliant.

Scratch – the visual programming language. Superb and really engaging. Check out my Youtube channel for loads of fun projects.

Kodu – Microsoft’s visual environment. Works with ‘if this then that style commands. Also available on XBox (though not for free).

Computer Science Unplugged – Quality scheme of work for teaching CS without computers. Also great for Y7/8 introduction to the subject.

Secondary upwards

Code Avengers – A great site for getting pupils into HTML and Java programming.

Codeacademy – does the lot! HTML, Javascript, Python, Ruby. Really great.

Codeschool Learn HTML and CSS in 30 days – some more advanced stuff here.  Good for Y9 upwards.


64 thoughts on “KS3 Computing resources

  1. Pingback: KS3 Computing Assessment Framework | MrColley.com

  2. Pingback: KS3 ICT/Computing Resources – A ShaREvolution | MrColley.com

  3. Hi, Very good information you have on here.
    I am a single department Computing teacher as well as being my first job.
    I don’t have a clue on how to implement the new national curriculum. I don’t even have a base.
    Would you be able to help me out please?

    • Hi Rahman,

      Thanks for your comment, and congratulations on being in charge of the computing ship at your school! I’m not quite sure if your worries relate to resources or your own skills and experience with Computing (believe me, you’re not alone with the latter). However, for both problems I would recommend Computing at School as your first port of call. Their resources site is full of teachers sharing lesson ideas and they also run free evening CPD classes to help teacher skill up to deliver the new curriculum.

      Personally, I would advise you not to try and change everything at once, especially if you’re doing all the planning and resourcing. I started with a couple of Scratch projects four or five years ago and have learnt & developed from there. Talk to other teachers from nearby schools and online, there are lots of people willing to give help and advice. Good luck!

    • Hi Rahman,
      I’m not sure what you have in the way of money to spend, but we made an investment this year in the Nichola Wilkin scheme of work at KS3 to get us started on the computing curriculum. I can heartily recommend it! Here’s the link to the site – http://www.nicholawilkin.com/index.html
      It will need development as we progress in our computing skills and gain confidence in delivering the new SoW, but it’s a fantastic start and will be the core of our KS3 scheme for some time to come. A number of other schools in the Wigan area are using it too.

      • Thanks Shirley! Never saw your comment until now! How much does it cost if you don’t mind me asking? Unfortunately my department doesn’t have much money to spend :S.

  4. Looks like some great resources you have here. We’re doing an overhaul of our curriculum, so I’m sure there is loads to use here. Thanks in advance. BTW did you know that your link for Dreamweaver goes to the Scratch link? Just thought you should know

  5. It is! Thanks for such a quick response. As I said, I have non-specialists teaching IT next year so some of your resources will be excellent. I’m in the process of designing the new Computing OCR course for Y10 and developing a Foundation Computer Science for Y9. So I’m being a bit of a magpie at the moment.
    Thanks again

  6. Some excellent resources, thanks. I have just started teaching the GCSE Computer Science with Edexcel and am on the lookout for anything that will help. I’ve found an Intorduction to Computer Science unit (using Scratch) from the Royal Society of Edinburgh that I am using to kick of the course. http://www.royalsoced.org.uk/1034_ComputingScience.html
    It is going well so far.
    Sorry for being picky but you’ve put “NEW for 2104” several times !!

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for the feedback and the link, I hope the resources are useful to you and your learners.

      Fixed the typo now, I was going to argue that it was long term planning, but that would be stretching it a bit!

      Good luck with the GCSE, I’m in the same boat but with AQA, interesting times eh?

  7. I’ve just stumbled across your site whilst searching for some ‘blurb’ about KS3 Computing for our school website.
    Looks like you have some great resources here – thanks for sharing them!

    We bought in the Hodder resources ‘Dynamic Learning’ but aren’t that impressed with them so looking to add in a lot of our own (or other peoples!) resources.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’d always advocate adapting any resources for your pupils – you know them best after all. Thanks to the Internet & Twitter I have borrowed and tweaked resources from all over the country/world to create my curriculum. Follow some of the links in the ‘good stuff by others’ section for more fantastic materials, and good luck!

  8. Having done binary with year 8’s and used the James Bond resources, I thought it would be great to create a converter in Scratch, and by magic (well Google) came across your Drop Box. The Scratch binary calculator is great and not too complex. The videos are key. I’m going to do this with my year 8’s tomorrow. They are in for a treat. Thanks!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing your resources. I teach in Wales and we are waiting to hear if we are moving toward computing at KS3, but I love the shared resources you have given so may start moving toward it anyway. The resources are excellent and the kids have loved the Digital Learners

  10. Loving the framework – although having a degree in CS and training as a Maths Teacher (currently NQT) – I have been given run of the KS3 IT/CS Curriculum, and this framework(and rationale) has been good training. I have added a software section but with a focus to useful skills like Good presentation (like you would at a board meeting). Once finalised ill upload/email to see what you think.


  11. Thanks for sharing all these resources – they are fantastic

    I’ve started with the Image Editing Project. I’ve tweaked them a little bit but I thought you’d like to know that a couple of links on the homework booklet are no longer working.

    I’ve replaced this link in homework 2

    with this one


    And this one from homework 3


    with this one



  12. Hello Mr. Colley!

    Nice to see that when I search for KS3 resources your name pops up, thanks again for being my first placement mentor!
    I hope you haven’t forgotten me.
    I am using yours and some of my own resources combined to teach at my first interview tomorrow!

    Hope all is well and you’re still in the band,

    • Hi Debbie,

      Great to hear from you. Of course I still remember, the memory hasn’t started to fail me quite yet 😉

      Good luck in the interview, I’m sure you’ll knock em dead, and let me know how you get on.


  13. Hi There, I would like to use your Year 8 Scratch – Virtual Pet. When I try and load the Scratch website folder on our server there seems to be CSS file missing as all images do not load on the index page. Help please.

    • Hi there,

      I’ve tested the resources and they worked fine at my end, but I’ve re-uploaded them just to make sure (with some updates and more lessons too!).

      If the site still doesn’t work, please make sure that you are opening it in Chrome or Firefox – it really doesn’t like IE.


  14. This is brilliant….. I was wondering if you have used the idea of gaining digital badges in your classroom? I know Mozilla Open badges have developed a back pack where you can store all of your achievements. I am thinking of bringing this ideal into my classrooms and possibly across the school.

    • Hi Joe,

      I looked at badges a few years ago but couldn’t find an issuing mechanism that was easy enough to set up & administrate across a department. Still love the idea but it’s currently on my ‘must investigate further’ list along with several million other things! Doug Belshaw on twitter may be able to give you some advice.

      • There is a website called class badges which lets you create badges and lets you set up classes. It works with Mozilla’s back pack where you can store your achievements. Its a free platform. I’m just getting to grips with it but I think it has some mileage.

  15. Mr Colley, your resources are brill! Thank you for sharing 🙂 is there any way you could make Video 8 for the Y7 Scratch unit (pong) available as it seems to be missing! Rachael

      • Found you and the video I needed on YouTube, thanks again! My Year 8 alternative curriculum have loved the Y7 intro to computers sow, I adapted some of the resources so it has been a lot of cutting and sticking things in the right places (which they enjoy) but it has really allowed them to access elements of comp sci! Rachael

      • Great! I’m glad your students are getting so much from it. Check out the #compeduk and #caschat hashtags on twitter for loads of other educators sharing their ideas.

  16. Excellent resource that helped us a great deal with planning lessons using spreadsheets within the computer science curriculum. Thank you so much

  17. Some clever stuff on here! Good work. Does anyone have a scheme or overview for a 2 year course (10s from Sept) 9-1 OCR Computing? I just need a plan to work to and I think I will be ok. Be grateful if anyone can share 🙂

  18. Hi,

    This seems to be just what I’ve been looking for. Thanks Mr Colley!

    I have a question though. I’m planning on teaching this (I’m by no means an IT specialist) to years 8 and 9 and I was wondering how to actually approach the lessons. I’m interesting in doing, for example, the scratch pet project. Do you suggest that the pupils simply access the resources (http://students.stmaryschs.org.uk/Y8_Virtual_Pet/index.html#/6) and work through individually? Or am I missing something?

    I’m really excited to try out these resources especially since they’ve been tried and tested but I’m wary of tripping up along the way and ruining their experience!

    Any help from other contributors would be most welcome.

    Thank you!

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. To try and answer your questions my approach would be to download a copy of the lesson resources from the Dropbox link and then tweak for your students.

      If you’ve ‘found’ Computing on your timetable for next year (just reading between the lines a bit!) then doing the lessons yourself first is a great troubleshooter.

      The tutorial site is designed so that students can simply access and work through independently but the REALLY important bit is the thinking and problem solving behind the activities – watch out for them skipping straight to the videos and encourage them to challenge themselves by trying to develop scripts from the pseudocode alone. Also don’t leave out the annotation and explanation of the code – that’s where the higher level thinking really crystallises.

      Finally, don’t be worried about tripping up, I learn new stuff every day. Be honest with the kids and admit that you’re all learning together, it’s great for a collaborative problem solving environment – they really have to think if they can’t simply rely on you! That’s how I approach it with my classes anyway.

      Good luck and keep me posted on how you get on.


      • Dear Andy,

        Thank you so much for your clear, honest and insightful comments. I shall do exactly as you say. I feel much more confident about the year ahead and will follow your idea of seeing this as a collaborative problem solving exercise!

        Thanks again and have a great summer.

  19. No problem and good luck. If you’re on Twitter then check out the #caschat hashtag and also take a look at the Computing At School community for loads of great ideas and resources.

    Enjoy the summer,


  20. Hi Andy, I appreciate your free resources on your website. I am HOD in Dubai and funnier enough, I live not far from Astley when Im over in the summer in a small bubble called Worsley. Anyway, I was wondering how your KS3 computing SOW is coming along for next year? Just wondering if you have decided on new units as the progression pathsway just feels to bulky to cover it all in one lesson a week. Anyway, any help will be appreaciated.

  21. Hey there – thanks so much for sharing your resources! Out of interest, what do you use to make your microsite? They’re pretty good and would love to make some of my own like this. Thanks in advance…

  22. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the raft of resources! I’m a primary teacher but from September I shall also be teaching Y7 and Y8 Computing, which I’ve never trained for! At the moment, we have no secondary department but it will be opening in September so I don’t even have any previous teachers to talk to! I’ll try not to bombard you with questions in the coming months!!


    • Hi Brad. No problem at all, ask away. I’d advise you to join Computing At School (CAS) too. There are loads of computing teachers and resources on their site and you can find out where your local master teachers are too. Tell them I sent you 😉

  23. Pingback: Computer Hardware Ks3 | Worldsbank

  24. Hi. Your Binary module looks fantastic, but the Binary Game link does not open without a Cisco login. Is there an issue with the link? Thanks.

  25. Hi , Your site is an CS treasure trove !
    I was wondering if you have any resources for teaching basic PowerPoint skills to KS2/KS3 .

  26. Please let me know if you find anything . I am an NQT and so it would be really useful to find something I can adapt . Thanks again

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