The Limudei Code-Esh project, funded by the The David Lear Sulman Computing, Science and Engineering Education Fund, integrates the teaching of coding, robotics and computational thinking with Judaic Studies. Most specifically, six curriculum units are being developed for K–3rd grade, to teach powerful ideas of computer science, through the use of ScratchJr and KIBO robotics, and engage both formal and informal learning setting in the creation of computational projects around the Jewish holidays.

This project, led by Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers and her DevTech research group at Tufts University, is a collaboration with teachers representing different denominations from Jewish day schools and after school programs in the Boston area.

The curriculum is s aligned with nationally recognized computer science frameworks, including the ISTE Standards for Students (2017), K–12 Computer Science Framework (2016) and the Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science (DLCS) Curriculum Framework (2016) as well as Common Core English Language Arts (ELA)/Literacy Framework (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011). In addition, the Jewish materials and approach was designed by a a group of experienced Jewish educators representing orthodox, conservative and reform denominational movements in Judaism. The curriculum units are freely available and can be used by any Jewish learning setting across the world. 

We’ve developed units for six Jewish holidays (Tu B’shevat, Pesach, Sukkot, Chanukkah, Yom Ha’atzmaut – coming soon!, and Purim – coming soon!) using either ScratchJr or KIBO. The units can be found below, organized by type of interface being used and difficulty level. These units are intended to be used from kindergarten through third grade.

SCRATCHJR


Tu B’shevat Curriculum: A Beginner ScratchJr Coding Curriculum to Explore Tu B’shevat

This curriculum puts in conversation computational thinking and coding with the holiday of Tu B’shevat. This curriculum encourages students to express their thoughts, ideas, and learning through ScratchJr activities related to Tu B’shevat to explore the concepts and the rituals of Tu B’shevat, the seven species, the notion of trees representing humans and the Torah, preserving the environment for future generations, recycling and composting, cycles of the year, planting and appreciating trees, and Tu B’shevat as a time for personal growth, and preparing the world, tikkun olam. The curriculum is designed for a total of 20 hours, but can be adapted to particular learning settings. 

Chanukkah: An Intermediate ScratchJr Coding Curriculum to Explore Chanukkah

This curriculum combines computational thinking and coding as they relate to the holiday of Chanukkah. Students are encouraged to express their thoughts, ideas, and learning through ScratchJr activities related to Chanukkah. Students explore the concepts and the history behind Chanukkah, the importance of preserving their Jewish identity, the miracles of Chanukkah, Chanukkah as the Festival of Lights, the significance of the Hanukkiyah, and the holiday’s traditions. The curriculum is designed for a total of 20 hours, but can be adapted to particular learning settings. 

Pesach Curriculum: An Advanced ScratchJr Curriculum to Explore Pesach

This curriculum puts in conversation computational thinking and coding with the holiday of Pesach. This developmentally appropriate curriculum allows students to explore advanced ScratchJr concepts in activities related to Pesach. Students will learn and discuss concepts such as making matzah, avdut and cherut, the significance of four and the symbolism of the seder plate. The curriculum is designed for a total of 20 hours, but can be adapted to particular learning settings. 

KIBO


Sukkot Curriculum: A Beginner KIBO Coding Curriculum to Explore Sukkot

This curriculum puts in conversation computational thinking and coding with the holiday of Sukkot. This curriculum encourages students to express their thoughts, ideas, and learning through KIBO activities related to Sukkot. Students explore the concepts and the rituals of Sukkot, the four species, the mitzvah of rejoicing, and the building of the Sukkah. It is important during Sukkot that individuals ask for forgiveness and express their gratitude for what they have individually and for what the Jewish community has today. The curriculum is designed for a total of 20 hours, but can be adapted to particular learning settings.

Yom Ha’atzmaut Curriculum: An Intermediate ScratchJr Coding Curriculum to Explore Yom Ha’atzmaut (Coming soon!)

Purim CurriculumAn Advanced ScratchJr Coding Curriculum to Explore Purim (Coming soon!)