• Elements of Computer Science in 3rd – 5th Grade

  • What should we see in a computer science enrichment or club?

    A 3rd – 5th-grade computer science related opportunity should:

    • Build a team and collaborative skills while problem-solving,
    • Connect that computer programming (coding) is an iterative process,
    • Recognize the societal impacts of computing,
    • Code and/or produce solutions using physical computing devices,
    • Explain how networks and systems work,
    • Solve problems by creating a model/representation (objects are created) and during the activity properties are assigned to it (abstraction),
    • Extend previous learning and reuse ideas to solve problems (recycle code),
    • Chunk complex tasks into more manageable subtasks (decomposition). Solutions are developed by combining smaller subtasks,
    • Identify and articulate solutions through a series of steps (algorithmic thinking). Instructions are correctly sequenced.  Iteration is learned through sequence repetition multiple times,
    • Identify when directions are not matching actions required (debugging). Edit and fix flaws,
    • be engaging by incorporating more active learning strategies,
    • provide opportunities for students to communicate verbally and in writing using computer science terminology,
    • develop computational thinking skills, and
    • recognize student accomplishments.

  • What resources are needed for a computer science enrichment or club?

    The following resources may be included with a computer science related activity:

    • space to allow students to collaborate with others,
    • moveable tables to allow students to be seated in small working groups,
    • faculty member to facilitate activities and supervise students,
    • community members to serve as volunteers to increase student support,
    • hardwired PCs, laptops, or Chromebook that provide consistent access to the Internet, and
    • student whiteboards (laminate cardstock) for collaboration and flexibility to solve problems.

  • How can we make this environment welcoming for our diverse learners?

    • Provide positive examples of computer scientists with diverse backgrounds.
    • Create lessons that are gender neutral.
    • Develop learning opportunities that take into consideration various points of view through classroom/group discussions.
    • Give individualized, critical feedback (“growth mindset”) with a targeted suggestion on how a project could be improved.
    • Remove visual cues and examples that may lead to stereotype threat.
    • Employ meaningful and relevant content (student voice and choice).
    • Address misconception about the field of computer science that may propagate gender, racial, and other social stereotypes.
    • Group students by level of experience in computing.
    • Foster social networks for studying and for support, and practice working in teams.

  • What benefits do students gain from participating in computer science experiences?

    • Increase confidence when using computers.
    • Instill courage to try new things.
    • Grow perseverance when tackling difficult problems.
    • Provide a sense of belonging to technology for underrepresented students.
    • Demonstrate the impact that CS has on careers and communities.

  • Contact Us
    Amy Bates
    Special Projects
    Dan Blier
    Computer Science