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  1. 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 »concepts in traditional high school science curricula that hundreds of students in a large urban US school district have used.« less
  2. Kong, S.C. (Ed.)
    While the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have presented computational thinking(CT)as an integral part of scientific inquiry, little work has been done to explicitly enable this connection in classrooms. We report on the efforts of one such design-based implementation research project which, with participation from local teachers, has been implementing CT infused STEM units in biology and chemistry classrooms. Using teacher reflections facilitated by an external evaluator, research field notes, and interviews, we identify possible issues of frame alignment in our implementations–that CT practices, particularly using computational models, were valued but would not enable students to gain a deeper understanding of scientific content. We then use this analysis and Schulman’s definition of teacher case knowledge to design a new element of the project that aims to enable teachers to promote collaborative scientific practice using computational models in the classroom that we call Lesson 0. We conclude with the discussion of a pilot implementation of this new lesson.
  3. Kong, S.C. (Ed.)
  4. In the decades since Papert published Mindstorms (1980), computation has transformed nearly every branch of scientific practice. Accordingly, there is increasing recognition that computation and computational thinking (CT) must be a core part of STEM education in a broad range of subjects. Previous work has demonstrated the efficacy of incorporating computation into STEM courses and introduced a taxonomy of CT practices in STEM. However, this work rarely involved teachers as more than implementers of units designed by researchers. In The Children’s Machine, Papert asked “What can be done to mobilize the potential force for change inherent in the position of teachers?” (Papert, 1994, pg. 79). We argue that involving teachers as co-design partners supports them to be cultural change agents in education. We report here on the first phase of a research project in which we worked with STEM educators to co-design curricular science units that incorporate computational thinking and practices. Eight high school teachers and one university professor joined nine members of our research team for a month-long Computational Thinking Summer Institute (CTSI). The co-design process was a constructionist design and learning experience for both the teachers and researchers. We focus here on understanding the co-design process and itsmore »implications for teachers by asking: (1) How did teachers shift in their attitudes and confidence regarding CT? (2) What different co-design styles emerged and did any tensions arise? Generally, we found that teachers gained confidence and skills in CT and computational tools over the course of the summer. Only one teacher reported a decrease in confidence in one aspect of CT (computational modeling), but this seemed to result from gaining a broader and more nuanced understanding of this rich area. A range of co-design styles emerged over the summer. Some teachers chose to focus on designing the curriculum and advising on the computational tools to be used in it, while leaving the construction of those tools to their co-designers. Other teachers actively participated in constructing models and computational tools themselves. The pluralism of co-design styles allowed teachers of various comfort levels with computation to meaningfully contribute to a computationally enhanced constructionist curriculum. However, it also led to a tension for some teachers between working to finish their curriculum versus gaining experience with computational tools. In the time crunch to complete their unit during CTSI, some teachers chose to save time by working on the curriculum while their co-design partners (researchers) created the supporting computational tools. These teachers still grew in their computational sophistication, but they could not devote as much time as they wanted to their own computational learning.« less
  5. Kong, 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.