CSD Unit 3 – Animations and Games

Chapter 1 – Images & Animations

Lesson 1: Programming for Entertainment



Students are asked to consider the “problems” of boredom and self expression, and to reflect on how they approach those problems in their own lives. From there, students will explore how Computer Science in general, and programming specifically, plays a role in either a specific form of entertainment or as a vehicle for self expression.


Students will be able to:

  • Identify how computer science is used in a field of entertainment

Warm Up (10 min)

The Entertainment Problem

Why do we seek out entertainment? Whether it’s movies, music, art, games, or any number of other forms of entertainment, what problem does entertainment solve for us? What is your favorite form of entertainment, and what problem does it solve for you?

Activity (45 min)

CS in Entertainment

  1. Does Computer Science play a role in the entertainment field? How?
  2. Get in groups of three.
  3. Each group needs a copy of the activity guide.

CS in Entertainment

During this activity your group will do some light research into the role that CS and programming play in various fields of entertainment. The primary goal of this activity is to broaden your perspective about how programming can be used to make fun or entertaining things. Some of the fields that you could research (such as art, animation, and games) can be directly connected to programs you will write later in this unit, while others may serve more as an inspiration for how the skills that you learn here may be applied in different domains.

Entertainment Exploration

  • Introduce the topics: In the activity guide we’ve listed a number of potential fields for research. These specific fields were chosen to go along with resources that are provided on Code Studio, but you can use others.
  • Explain the exploration task: The goal of this exploration is twofold:
    • First, develop a deeper understanding of how programming is used in your chosen field. How is computer technology changing this field, what are some of the problems that people are trying to solve with technology?
    • Second, identify some interesting applications of CS or facts to share. What are some cool things that people are doing in this field that make use of CS?
  • Share selected research links: Below are a handful of useful sites to help you kick off your research.
    • Inside the Magic –¬†insidethemagic.net : This site is focused on news about Disney, but you might be surprised by the large role that CS plays in all of their different forms of entertainment. Because this isn’t a CS focused site, you’ll need to use the search function to find relevant articles.
    • Critical Path Videos – criticalpathproject.com/explore/playlists/ Videos featuring a range of people working in diverse areas of the game industry, talking about what they do.
    • Music Think Tank – musicthinktank.com Music Think Tank is a blog targeted at people working in the music industry. It’s not a CS specific site, but searching for “computer science” or “programming” will reveal some interesting articles.
    • Creative Coding Podcast – creativecodingpodcast.com While this podcast doesn’t feature much in the way of formal professional programming (as in, people who do this for a living), it is a great resource to see the varied ways in which amateurs are making entertainment with code.

Wrap Up (5 min)

Looking Forward:¬†Explore independently, the example programs at the end of this lesson’s Code Studio progression. These programs are designed to show a variety of different kinds of programs that it’s possible to make in Game Lab.

Journal: Based on what you saw today, both in your research and the example apps, what kinds of programs are you most interested in learning to create?

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