Integrating Computational Thinking in Elementary Science
The goal of our project, funded by NSF under the STEM+C program, is to explore optimal intersections of computational thinking (CT) with science and mathematics lessons. This video shows how one of our grade 3 modules, “Populations and Habitat,” gives students opportunities to understand and explore key ideas of CT such as modeling (both physical and digital) and data analysis while exploring concepts of life science. Researchers and subject matter experts from Education Development Center (EDC), in partnership with Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) and elementary teachers from the state of Massachusetts, designed and developed these classroom experiences.
Throughout the country, there are many efforts to make both computer science (the science that deals with the theory and methods of processing information in computers) and digital literacy (the ability to use digital technology, communication tools, or networks to locate, evaluate, use, and create information) a more important part of all students’ K–12 learning experience. Through this work, EDC, along with MA DESE, has identified several promising elementary school mathematics and science topics for integrating with CT, the challenges to teachers of implementing I-Mods with fidelity to both the CT and math/science content, the resources needed at the state level to support teachers’ efforts to address new Digital literacy and Computer Science Standards (DL/CS), and the impact of the I-Mods on elementary students’ CT and teachers understanding of and sense of readiness to teach CT.