As of July 21, 2021, all K-12 schools in Indiana were required to offer a computer science curriculum. If you are an elementary school classroom teacher, chances are that responsibility fell into YOUR lap. Your plate is already full, and computer science? Seriously? You did NOT sign up for this.
All of a sudden, people are throwing words at you like “Java, C++, algorithms, bits, bytes, and something about a Python in your room?” No. Thank. You.
Take a deep breath.
It’s going to be okay.
First, let’s sort some things out.
What is computer science?
According to the Computer Science Teachers Association, computer science is “The study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their implementation, and their impact on society.”
Code.org simplifies the definition even more, saying CS is “learning how to use the power of computers to solve big problems.”
Essentially, computer science is learning how to tell the computer to do what we want it to do.
Computer science is NOT building or repairing computers, playing video games, learning how to keyboard, or learning how to use word processing and spreadsheet programs.
Computer science is NOT just coding.
For our elementary school students, this means problem solving and encouraging students to use technology as a creation tool, not just a consumption tool.
See, no pythons!
Some good news…
If your school is one to one and using some sort of LMS, you are probably already covering standards K-2.CD.1, K-2.PA.1, K-2.PA.2 , K-2.NC.1, K-2.NC.2, so we’ll leave those alone for now.
Here is a beautiful infographic to help you with things you do need to cover:
Now, obviously things get a little more complicated in grades 3-5. It’s still okay. You can handle this. Still no pythons, or any snakes in your classroom for that matter. Promise.
Things I’m sure you are already doing: 3-5.NC.2 Productivity and Collaboration.
And now, another beautiful and helpful infographic!
Some important things to remember…
First, this is just an introduction. You are not trying to create a first grade Bill Gates. You are building the foundation.
Don’t think that every computer science activity must be done on the computer. You will be amazed at how much the students love the “unplugged” activities!
The coding language you teach your students is not as important as problem solving and perseverance skills your students will learn as a part of the process.
You can do this! You’re a teacher. It’s what you’re programmed to do!