Coding is an increasingly important skill in the modern world. Not only can it be used in everyday problem solving, but also it's used in nearly every industry. As technology continues to develop, programmers will continue to be in high demand. Fortunately, there are a number of great coding classes for middle schoolers available. Read on to find out about our award-winning curriculum for learning how to code, and which classes most parents and teachers chose to begin their students' coding journeys with!
Explore Coding Classes for Middle Schoolers
Let's take a look at some programs that can help middle schoolers develop a passion for computer science and lifelong learning. This award-winning middle school coding curriculum is designed by experts from Google, Stanford and MIT, equips students with the skills they’ll need to go from absolute beginners to experienced programmers in the fields in which they’re interested.
Middle schoolers are at the perfect age to start exploring the exciting world of coding. They can learn a range of valuable skills, from creating their own games with Scratch, to building mobile apps, exploring data science, and even earning AP class credit through our Computer Science Principles course. With the right guidance and resources, they can unleash their creativity, challenge their problem-solving skills, and set themselves up for a rewarding and in-demand career in the future.
We recommend starting with foundation classes, choosing intermediate classes based on interests, and completing advanced classes for ambitious learners.
Top Free Coding Classes for Middle Schoolers
Create & Learn offers award-winning computer science classes in 35+ different subject areas. These classes are small group sessions of about 5 students, and are taught live by an engaging instructor whose feedback, answers to questions, and personalized support can be especially helpful to middle schoolers beginning to explore coding. All classes use real-world applications, so teens can learn skills they can immediately apply outside of the classroom setting. There are also many free coding classes to try first, to see what sparks your teen's interests!
A great place to start is Scratch, a simple block-based coding system that allows students to focus on learning the foundations of coding without worrying about syntax. Scratch is also a great stepping stone on the way to other programming languages, as the overall approach taken to program in Scratch is similar to the approach in other popular languages. Plus, Scratch comes with a number of built-in graphics and sounds to allow beginner coders to dive right into making fun and interesting projects!
1. Free Accelerated Scratch
Scratch is a popular platform as a first choice for learning to program. It makes use of block-based programming, rather than text-based programming, to allow students to focus on learning the core concepts of coding without worrying about tricky syntax. This free introduction to Scratch is designed to teach older students the basics of Scratch by building a simple project, and it’s designed for students grades 5-9, making it perfect for a middle schooler to take! There are no prerequisites for this class, so your child can jump right in!
2. Free Minecraft Modding
Minecraft is a very popular game with kids, so why not use that as a vehicle for learning to code? This free class turns your child’s love of playing Minecraft into real-world coding skills with a fun in-game mod. It uses a block-based coding system as well, so it’s a great stepping stone toward text-based programming languages! While their creations only exist inside of Minecraft, the core skills learned here translate to all other fields of programming. It is recommended that students are familiar with Scratch before taking this class.
3. Free AI Explorers
Artificial intelligence is a very popular subject in the world of computer science, and this class is designed to allow students to begin to explore the topic! This free session covers some fun cutting-edge AI applications in a small classroom setting. Your middle schooler will enjoy lots of group discussion, interaction with the instructor, and a hands-on project. There is no prerequisite listed for this class, so feel free to dive in!
4. Free Python
Python is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, due to its ease of use and wide array of real-world applications. It’s used in everything from game development to artificial intelligence, making it a great option as a first text-based coding language. In this introductory class, students will learn how to animate and draw with Python, and will build their own story project with cool animations. It’s recommended that students have experience with block-based coding before taking this class, although highly motivated students can get started with Python first if they’re willing to spend a little extra time practicing!
5. Free Roblox Coding
Roblox is an ever-growing platform beloved by kids everywhere, so why not learn how to make your own games in Roblox? This class introduces students to coding in Roblox Studio using a system similar to the one used in Scratch. They’ll be guided on the process of installing and activating Roblox Studio, followed by a tutorial to create an interactive Obby game with different shapes, colors, and materials. The expert teacher will walk students through the process, do demos, and of course, answer questions if needed. It is recommended that students have completed the Scratch course before taking this class.
Top Coding Classes for Middle Schoolers
Online coding classes offer a unique and valuable experience that is worth the cost. With expert instructors leading small classes, students receive personalized attention and guidance to help them reach their coding goals. These classes are tailored to specific skills and programming languages, ensuring that students receive the most comprehensive and up-to-date education. Online coding classes provide access to quality education, experienced teachers, and a collaborative learning community that help middle school students get a step ahead in the world of computer science.
1. Accelerated Scratch
For students looking to learn about Scratch, the block-based and beginner-friendly programming platform, the Accelerated Scratch course is a great option. This course is a compressed series of classes designed to prepare students for more advanced computer science courses. In each class, students work on a hands-on project designed to help them practice with core coding concepts. This class has no prerequisites, so there’s no time like the present to get started!
2. Smart Devices
Another popular topic is creating smart devices using Arduino. This course teaches students how to design simple electronic systems for alarms, home sensing, motor controls, and more, as well as creating code to control these systems. Classes are taught using an Arduino simulator, although starter kits can also be purchased for students who want to work with the real-life hardware. A solid understanding of the inner workings of basic electronics is critical in the world of computer science, so this course is a great option for middle school students to fill in that knowledge! There are no listed prerequisites, but it is recommended that students have programming experience with Scratch and a text-based language such as Python to get the most out of this course.
3. Mobile Coding for Apps & Games
In this class, students will build their very first mobile app using the block-based programming system of Thunkable. This is a great place for a middle schooler to dive into their professional programming journey, as using block-based programming helps practice the core concepts of coding without worrying about the complexities of text-based programming. It is advised to have some experience with a platform like Scratch before taking this class.
4. Beginner Roblox Coding
The Beginner Roblox Coding class focuses on using Roblox Studio to create interactive games using a block-based coding system similar to Scratch. Throughout the course, students will learn the skills needed to create complex games such as dodgeball and an infinite runner game. This is a great way for middle schoolers to not only learn real-world programming skills, but also to share their creations with friends and family through the Roblox platform! It is recommended that students have completed the Scratch course before taking this class.
5. Python for AI
Python is a high-level programming language used by companies such as Netflix and Google, and it’s popular for web development, game development, app development, machine learning, and more. This class is designed to help students transition from block-based programming to text-based programming, with a focus on the elements of Python most useful to the field of artificial intelligence. It is recommended that students come in with experience with block-based programming systems, although motivated students can make it as long as they’re willing to put in a little extra practice time!
6. Modern Website Design with Wix
Web design is a massive field in the world of computer science, and Wix is the leading platform for designing and managing websites. This class starts students out with the fundamentals of web design and covers the core features of Wix. Throughout the course, students learn how to add complex elements to websites, such as maps, submission forms, private pages, interface design, and even how to set up payment gateways. There is no required prerequisite to take this class, although students with prior coding and design experience will likely get the most out of the course.
7. Data Science with Python & Pandas
Data analytics is a critical field of computer science for modern businesses, so there’s no time like the present to start learning about data science! Whether your middle schooler has aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur, lawyer, journalist, doctor, or engineer, it’s important to gain the power to analyze and utilize data to gain business insights and make decisions. This class teaches students how to use Python alongside the Pandas library to clean data, process it, and analyze it. Students need to have completed Python for AI Part 3 or have equivalent experience to take this class.
8. Unity Game Development
Game development is always a popular subject, and Unity is one of the most popular platforms in the world for making video games! It uses the C# programming language alongside a powerful editor to create both 2D and 3D games. In this class, students begin by learning how to make a 2D platform game, and work toward building a 3D first person game. Be sure to take the free introductory class to get Unity set up and get familiarized with the interface. It is recommended that incoming students have a basic knowledge of text-based coding languages, such as Python or Java.
9. Computer Science Principles
Learning to code is extremely valuable, but learning how a computer works is important too! This class introduces students to a wide range of important fundamentals topics in computer science, such as binary code, encryption, networking, and more. Designed by expert AP computer science educators, this class also meets the requirements for the APCSP exam as defined by the College Board. It is strongly recommended that students have completed Python for AI to get the best learning experience from this course.
Start Coding Classes for Middle Schoolers
There has never been a better time than now for middle schoolers to dive into the world of coding, as technology becomes more and more integrated with our daily lives. Why not get the ball rolling by reading our blog post on Scratch exercises for kids? And don’t forget to check out the fantastic curriculum offered by Create & Learn to jumpstart your child’s programming journey!
Written by Create & Learn instructor Josh Abbott Salazar. Josh is a teacher, coder, audio engineer, and musician. After graduating with a Master's in Music from Belmont University in Nashville, TN, Josh turned his attention to the technology side of things, and has been working in various aspects of coding and engineering ever since. He runs a small music studio in Nashville called Tango Sound Studios, and develops video games in his spare time.