While the Next Generation Science Standards set an expectation for developing computer science and computational thinking (CT) practices in the context of science subjects, it is an open question as to how to create curriculum and assessments that develop and measure these practices. In this poster, we show one possible solution to this problem: to introduce students to computer science through infusing computational thinking practices ("CT-ifying") science classrooms. To address this gap, our group has worked to explicitly characterize core CT-STEM practices as specific learning objectives and we use these to guide our development of science curriculum and assessments. However, having these learning objectives in mind is not enough to actually create activities that engage students in CT practices. We have developed along with science teachers, a strategy of examining a teacher’s existing curricula and identifying potential activities and concepts to “CT-ify”, rather than creating entirely new curricula from scratch by using the concept of scale as an “attack vector” to design science units that integrate computational thinking practices into traditional science curricula. We demonstrate how we conceptualize four different versions of scale in science, 1. Time, 2. Size, 3. Number, and 4. Repeatability. We also present examples of thesemore »
Back to Computational Transparency: Co-designing with Teachers to Integrate Computational Thinking in Science Classrooms
Integrating computational thinking (CT) in the science classroom presents the opportunity to simultaneously broaden participation in computing, enhance science content learning, and engage students in authentic scientific practice. However, there is a lot more to learn on how teachers might integrate CT activities within their existing curricula. In this work, we describe a process of co-design with researchers and teachers to develop CT-infused science curricula. Specifically, we present a case study of one veteran physics teacher whose conception of CT during a professional development institute changed over time. We use this case study to explore how CT is perceived in physics instruction, a field that has a long history of computational learning opportunities. We also discuss how a co-design process led to the development of a lens through which to identify fruitful opportunities to integrate CT activities in physics curricula which we term computational transparency–purposefully revealing the inner workings of computational tools that students already use in the classroom.
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Workshops and Co-design Can Help Teachers Integrate Computational Thinking into Their K-12 STEM ClassesKong, S.C. (Ed.)This work aims to help high school STEM teachers integrate computational thinking (CT) into their classrooms by engaging teachers as curriculum co-designers. K-12 teachers who are not trained in computer science may not see the value of CT in STEM classrooms and how to engage their students in computational practices that reflect the practices of STEM professionals. To this end, we developed a 4-week professional development workshop for eight science and mathematics high school teachers to co-design computationally enhanced curriculum with our team of researchers. The workshop first provided an introduction to computational practices and tools for STEM education. Then, teachers engaged in co-design to enhance their science and mathematics curricula with computational practices in STEM. Data from surveys and interviews showed that teachers learned about computational thinking, computational tools, coding, and the value of collaboration after the professional development. Further, they were able to integrate multiple computational tools that engage their students in CT-STEM practices. These findings suggest that teachers can learn to use computational practices and tools through workshops, and that teachers collaborating with researchers in co-design to develop computational enhanced STEM curriculum may be a powerful way to engage students and teachers with CT in K-12 classrooms.
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C2STEM is a web-based learning environment founded on a novel paradigm that combines block-structured, visual programming with the concept of domain specific modeling languages (DSMLs) to promote the synergistic learning of discipline-specific and computational thinking (CT) concepts and practices. Our design-based, collaborative learning environment aims to provide students in K-12 classrooms with immersive experiences in CT through computational modeling in realistic scenarios (e.g., building models of scientific phenomena). The goal is to increase student engagement and include inclusive opportunities for developing key computational skills needed for the 21st century workforce. Research implementations that include a semester-long high school physics classroom study have demonstrated the effectiveness of our approach in supporting synergistic learning of STEM and CS/CT concepts and practices, especially when compared to a traditional classroom approach. This technology demonstration will showcase our CS+X (X = physics, marine biology, or earth science) learning environment and associated curricula. Participants can engage in our design process and learn how to develop curricular modules that cover STEM and CS/CT concepts and practices. Our work is supported by an NSF STEM+C grant and involves a multi-institutional team comprising Vanderbilt University, SRI International, Looking Glass Ventures, Stanford University, Salem State University, and ETR. More information,more »
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