Preparing the Next Generation of Problem Solvers
Recent advances in our understanding of the building blocks of Computational Thinking (CT) and new insights into the capabilities of young learners have made early CT an area ripe for exploration. This NSF-funded project aims to identify CT concepts and skills that align with the abilities and interests of preschool children and support the school readiness goals established by early learning programs and policies. Furthermore, it investigates the integration of CT with early mathematics and science, and involves the development of integrated activities and resources to provide young children with rich early STEM learning experiences at home and school.
Project activities include: (1) developing research-based learning blueprints that delineate learning goals that integrate CT with mathematics and science; (2) designing and iteratively testing hands-on activities that address these learning goals in authentic ways and digital tools to uniquely enhance learning; and (3) identifying principles that can be used by other researchers and practitioners exploring CT and STEM integration in formal and informal settings.
Our work involves bringing together learning scientists, curriculum developers, media designers, preschool educators, and parents/caregivers to work together and co-design activities and resources. This participatory approach helps ensure that design decisions are evidence-based, take into account the interests of young children, link home and school learning, and address the needs and strengths of preschool programs and culturally diverse families. We believe this collaborative process leads to the development of resources that can be feasibly implemented and more likely to be adopted by preschool programs and families.
NSF Awards: 1827293