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4 Ways to Launch a Computer Science Curriculum

Want to incorporate computer science into your curriculum and don't know where to start? Here are four easy ways to incorporate CS into your classroom. 

By Brianna Gray

In a world that's constantly changing, the realm of education is changing with it. In light of Obama's Computer Science for All initiative, CS is a hot topic for educators in the U.S. and few are taking it on at the same pace. Whether you're blazing the trail in your community or just starting to think about introducing a computer science curriculum to your school, here are four easy ways CS education can get a start and live in your classroom.

Encourage Real Life Connections (Social Emotional Learning)

A great place to start (and come back to!) is making connections between technology and our everyday lives. Encourage students to think about the tools they use every day and how computer science is a huge part of our world. Quick questions to get the wheels spinning:

  • What's an example of technology we use daily in our classroom?

  • How does it work?

  • How do you think it was designed and built?

  • What happens when our classroom technology doesn't work for us the way we want or expect?

  • How do we problem-solve frustrations and challenges with technology in our classroom?

Create a Computer Science Word Wall (ELA)

Word walls are learning tools that can be used across curriculums. Not only do word walls create a print rich environment for early readers, they serve as a constant point of reference and create an opportunity for students to be involved. Word wall tips:

Display Student Work (Math)

Create a place in your classroom for students to see the connections between their daily work and computer science.

  • Into project-based learning? Include photos of students "making" finished projects and documentation of the experience.

  • Using coding apps or programs? Display anonymous progress reports or class data. Print screenshots of student accomplishments and photos of students working on their devices.

Highlight Significant People and Events (Social Studies)

Computer Science is constantly evolving and there have been so many important people and events along the way. Focus on some major advances in CS and introduce students to the key players behind them.

  • Mini-lessons: Introduce computer science pioneers (Grace Hopper, Alan Turing, George Boole, Steve Jobs, etc.) and the challenges they overcame as innovators. Encourage students to relate to CS on a human level by getting to know a bit about the people behind the magic!

  • Current events: Have students do a weekly current event search and share events directly related to technology. Big things are happening around the world every day; even kids are contributing!

  • Celebrate significant dates: Birthdays of famous computer scientists, anniversaries of famed inventions, or upcoming popular product releases. Celebrate the past while staying up to date and inspired!

Although it may feel like you're a lone wolf on a computer science island, there is an amazing community of teachers taking off with computer science. As you get started or continue down your current path, these bonus ideas are sure to help foster a CS mindset in your classroom and reinforce learning.