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  1. This article describes a sensor-based physical computing system, called the Data Sensor Hub (DaSH), which enables students to process, analyze, and display data streams collected using a variety of sensors. The system is built around the portable and affordable BBC micro:bit microcontroller (expanded with the gator:bit), which students program using a visual, cloud-based programming environment intended for novices. Students connect a variety of sensors (measuring temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, sound, acceleration, magnetism, etc.) and write programs to analyze and visualize the collected sensor data streams. The article also describes two instructional units intended for middle grade science classes that use this sensor-based system. These inquiry-oriented units engage students in designing the system to collect data from the world around them to investigate scientific phenomena of interest. The units are designed to help students develop the ability to meaningfully integrate computing as they engage in place-based learning activities while using tools that more closely approximate the practices of contemporary scientists as well as other STEM workers. Finally, the article articulates how the DaSH and units have elicited different kinds of teacher practices using student drawn modeling activities, facilitating debugging practices, and developing place-based science practices. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    This paper describes the design and classroom implementation of a week-long unit that aims to integrate computational thinking (CT) into middle school science classes using programmable sensor technology. The goals of this sensor immersion unit are to help students understand why and how to use sensor and visualization technology as a powerful data-driven tool for scientific inquiry in ways that align with modern scientific practice. The sensor immersion unit is anchored in the investigation of classroom data where students engage with the sensor technology to ask questions about and design displays of the collected data. Students first generate questions about how data data displays work and then proceed through a set of programming exercises to help them understand how to collect and display data collected from their classrooms by building their own mini data displays. Throughout the unit students draw and update their hand drawn models representing their current understanding of how the data displays work. The sensor immersion unit was implemented by ten middle school science teachers during the 2019/2020 school year. Student drawn models of the classroom data displays from four of these teachers were analyzed to examine students’ understandings in four areas: func- tion of sensor components, process models of data flow, design of data displays, and control of the display. Students showed the best understanding when describing sensor components. Students exhibited greater confusion when describing the process of how data streams moved through displays and how programming controlled the data displays. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Engaging in physical computing activities involving both hard- ware and software provides a hands-on introduction to computer science. The move to remote learning for primary and secondary schools during the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19 made implementing physical computing activities especially challenging. However, it is important that these activities are not simply eliminated from the curriculum. This paper explores how a unit centered around students investigating how programmable sensors that can support data-driven scientific inquiry was collaboratively adapted for remote instruction. A case study of one teacher’s experience implementing the unit with a group of middle school students (ages 11 to 14) in her STEM elective class examines how her students could still engage in computational thinking practices around data and programming. The discussion includes both the challenges and unexpected affordances of engaging in physical computing activities remotely that emerged from her implementation. 
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