K-8 Intro to Computer Science is a free course that aims to demystify computer science and show K-8 students that it’s fun, collaborative, and creative. The course is designed to motivate students and educators to continue learning computer science to improve real world relationships, connections, and life.
Educators will foster an environment of communal learning that emphasizes risk-taking. This course will teach students about computer science, computational thinking, and programming. It will also teach that success does not come on the first try, just like the world's most difficult problems aren't solved on the first try. Challenge is good when it is supported by plans and tools that lead to success. This course will help students persevere in solving problems.
The content of this course is appropriate for kindergartners through 8th graders and beyond, but teachers must adjust the lessons and their pacing appropriately to the needs of their students. K-2 teachers will want to emphasize the unplugged lessons, which are the teacher-led activities that don't require the use of a computer.
This course was developed in accordance with our educational philosophy.
Here’s how to get started:
We want computer science to be accessible for both students and teachers. Code.org has hosted online info sessions for educators using our K-8 Intro to Computer Science course via online video conference. Listed below are the links to videos for each session and the topics covered in each session:
Professional development for educators will be available to teachers in select partner districts. Learn how your district can partner with Code.org.
In partnership with DonorsChoose.org, we'll be offering up to $1,000 in classroom funding to the first 1,000 U.S. public school teachers who successfully establish this course and lead at least 15 students through it.
When 15 or more of your registered students complete the course and earn all 27 "concept mastery" trophies, you will receive a $750 DonorsChoose.org gift code. If 7 or more of your participating students are female, you’ll receive an additional $250, for a total gift of $1,000 in DonorsChoose.org funding! Make sure your female students fill in the gender field on the registration field when they sign up.
What are my chances? Everybody wins while supplies last! The first 1,000 public school teachers who successfully teach the course will win these rewards. If you haven’t signed up a class already, now is a good time to set up a time - either as an after-school activity, as a one-hour enrichment / special activity as part of an existing school week, or during other extended hours.
Note: These rewards are not cash prizes for teachers - they are classroom rewards. This program is not permanent, it's a one-time campaign to see if rewards can help grow the pool of C.S. teachers and increase total enrollment (especially by girls). Teachers will only be eligible for this reward once for establishing the course, and not for teaching it year after year. Our expectation is that teachers who have a good experience integrating this course into the classroom will offer it on an ongoing basis. Also, there's a $1,000 limit per teacher. See the DonorsChoose.org FAQ for other limits.
We take a blended learning approach to teaching computer science, which means that students learn from a mix of online, self-guided activities (listed in bold) and unplugged activities, which are traditional teacher-led activities that use no computer at all (listed in italics)
Our online activities use Blockly, a visual programming language, where you drag and drop blocks together to write code. Try out activities and download lesson plans at learn.code.org
Schedule a time that works best: You can teach the course as a month-long computer science unit, or one day per week throughout a semester.
Lesson time is flexible. Running out of time? Students can finish online lessons for homework. Offline lessons are 1 hour but built with adjustments for adding or subtracting 15 minutes.
Prep for the course:
Inspire your students: Introduce computer science and make it exciting, creative and for everyone. Show your students the Code.org film, “What Most Schools Don’t Teach”: it features Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Black Eyed Peas founder will.i.am and NBA star Chris Bosh talking about the importance of programming.
Have students work in pairs: Make use of pair programming. Students can help each other, and by relying less on the teacher, they can actually retain more knowledge. Pair programming allows students to see that computer science is social and collaborative. In addition, it allows you to teach the course even if you don’t have enough computers for every student.
The three rules of pair programming in a school setting:
Engage all students: Your classroom likely has a wide range of skill and confidence levels. Use the flexibility of this course to engage every student. Ask students who finish tutorials early to partner with groups who are still working.
Problem solving: "Ask 3, then me." Encourage students to explore solutions and think through problems before asking questions. Teachers, if you can’t figure out a problem, use it as a good learning lesson for the class: technology doesn’t always work out the way we want. Together, we’re a community of learners.
When your students come across technical difficulties,
If Intro to computer science was a success, plan to teach our next courses that will debut in fall 2014, which will be separated for specific grade-levels: K-2nd, 3rd-5th, 6th-8th.
Code.org is a 501c3 public non-profit, so we produce all our tutorials as free services for the greater good of spreading computer science education. Are you ready to try? Give it a whirl, it's free.
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