The Nine Week Cycle

How we work on projects

At CurlyBrackets we learn through building projects. We call our system for working on projects the "Nine Week Cycle". As you might have guessed from the name, it lasts a total of nine weeks. Think of it like a school semester.

The goal of the nine week cycle is for every student to:
- Plan a project
- Design the project
- Build the project
- Complete the project
- Present the project
- Get feedback from the teacher

Let's go through it in more detail, week by week.

Week 1

Planning the Project and Determining Scope

The first week is spent on planning out the project. Depending on the track a student is taking, they can pick a “base” project. There are only a couple of base projects each cycle to choose from, but the student can personalise the project as much as they want.

Students with a lot of experience can plan a project different from the base projects.

Students can choose to work by themselves or in small teams of 2. Teams are usually composed of a designer and a developer.

The student and teacher will together determine the scope of the project. Whatever the student chooses to work on, they must be done in six weeks. Done means that the project is working and is presentable.

However, the scope is variable. That means that if a student is “done” after only 3 weeks, they can go deeper and continue adding more features. This also means that if a student was too ambitious in the beginning, they can remove some things and still be done after six weeks.

Weeks 2 through 7

Implementation and Execution

The next six weeks are spent on executing on the plan. Students will be given video tutorials (made by us) + external resources in order to finish their projects. As students start building their projects, they will start deviating from the base project that they started off with. They will want special features specific to their projects. The teachers are going to be available to answer any questions and help the students implement the requested features.

If students want more time to work on their projects, they can of course work outside of class, but also attend Project Sunday. Project Sunday is an optional 4 hour event every Sunday from 12 PM - 4 PM, where we meet on Zoom to work on projects.

Week 7

Feedback for Students and Parents

As the cycle comes to a close, parents will receive feedback on their kids. Instead of writing up the feedback for each and every student, the teacher will record a short video for the parents to watch.

Students will also get feedback from their teachers.

Week 8

Presentations

All the projects are done! The students will create a small presentation together with their teacher. The presentation will not only present what the students have made, but also what they have learned in the process. This presentation will be recorded. The projects will also be published on our website.

Towards the end of the week, we will hold a public event where a select few students will present their projects. Friends, parents, grandparents and anyone else are all invited to join. The event will be live-streamed.

Week 9

Break

After 8 weeks of intense working, this week will be a fun week where we don’t do any “real” work. We will be holding fun seminars, discussions and just winding down prior to starting the next nine week cycle.

and then we start a new nine week cycle