App Lab


BGCA’s vision is to expand our suite of STEM programming – supplementing the STEM exposure kids have in school with our Clubs’ after school space – not only in scope of reach, but in curricular diversity and depth of activity, growing our programming to meet Clubs of all capacities and youth of all ages.

App Lab is designed to offer a digital app development curriculum specifically targeting middle-school aged youth. The program consists of 15 sessions that cover the basics of using MIT’s App Inventor website, designing and developing an original Android app, and crafting a presentation to share with others. The program can be done by any member, regardless of level of experience, but does require some dedicated staff time for set up and planning.

Staff members should begin by familiarizing themselves with the 'Set up and Prep' sections of these instructions before running the program.


Setup & Prep

Members will do most of their work on computers, but have the option to connect to Android mobile devices for testing and deployment. We encourage you to allow members who have their own devices to use them for this program! Alternatively, members may use the Club’s mobile tablets or an emulator on their computer. There are three steps to setting up the program. First, identify and setup the equipment you'll be using in the program. If you are using Android tablets or phones, you'll need to ready them to “talk” to computers by installing the AI2 Companion App. Finally, you can pull together the materials and resources needed to run the program itself. Instructions for the setup and management​ (including detailed guides for Galaxy Tab 4, but applicable to many others) are available in the Setup Guide.

View the Setup Guide



The curriculum modules contain sessions that focus on basic application development to be completed individually by members, depending on the availability of computers and tablets. This program is designed to present low-risks to participating members, but offer a high probability of success.

The curriculum sessions emphasize the design process including: defining the problem, conceptualizing, designing, simplifying, prototyping, testing and presenting. The sessions combine a mixture of design simplification processes with new computer science concepts that can be applied to a design idea or prototype. The sessions conclude with a pitch session where members present their work and next step. Their presentations will highlight the design process and the product of their work with the app. They will also discuss their aspirations and possibilities for future work on their solution, e.g., where can their idea go.


Sessions: Coding​​ Basics

Sessions: Design Thinking and App C​​​​reation​

Sessions: Making a Presentation



App Inventor Website