One of my latest classroom evolutions is the integration of the Bootstrap curriculum into my Algebra 1 classes.

Bootstrap is a curriculum for students ages 12–16, teaching algebraic concepts through coding. By the end of the curriculum, each student has designed their own video game using the concepts (e.g. – order of operations, linear functions, function composition, the pythagorean theorem, inequalities in the plane, piecewise functions, and more).

The Bootstrap mission is to take students’ excitement around gaming and drive it towards mathematics and computer programming. Beyond simply expanding students’ interest in math, Bootstrap is among the first curricula to demonstrate real improvement in students’ algebra performance.

Bootstrap founder Emmanuel Schanzer delivers a TED talk on why and how Bootstrap came into being and holds value for educators here:

Bootstrap curriculum, training and resources can be found here:



Spencer Small has been a CMSD teacher for 13 years and currently teaches Algebra 1/Computer Science as a high school teacher. He was a middle school math teacher for six years. Later, he became a math coach, working with teachers from across the district on pacing, math pedagogy, teaching strategies, data analysis and deepening content knowledge. Spencer is currently focused on implementing a curriculum called Bootstrap into his Algebra I classes. The goal is to blend algebra concepts and programming concepts into a platform that allows students to create their own basic video game. Spencer is a husband and the father of five. He enjoys music, sports, staying physically active and food.