Computer Science Discoveries (CS Discoveries) is an introductory computer science course that empowers students to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun.
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CS Discoveries is designed from the ground up to be an accessible and engaging course for all students, regardless of background or prior experience. It provides students opportunities to engage with culturally and personally relevant topics in a wide variety of contexts and aims to show all students that CS is for them.
We know that giving students agency in their learning is a powerful tool for creating fun, engaging, and lasting learning experiences. CS Discoveries focuses on the skills that enable students to create and express themselves in a variety of contexts and media. Whether they are developing their own website, designing an app, building a game, or creating a physical computing device, students are empowered to bring their ideas to life.
CS Discoveries is designed to fit naturally between our CS Fundamentals courses and our CS Principles course. While each of these courses is designed to be an age-appropriate entry point to computer science, students with previous experience will find many new topics to explore, and they will revisit familiar topics in novel and more challenging contexts.
CS Discoveries is specifically designed to support new-to-CS teachers. The curriculum includes detailed lesson plans, and frequent teaching tips. The accompanying forum is an active community of support that teachers can use to discuss their practice and find additional resources. Teachers can also apply for our professional learning program for further support.
CS Discoveries is appropriate for 6th - 10th grade classrooms and can be used in either middle school or early high school. The two semesters build on each other, allowing the course to be taught as a single semester, two sequential semesters, a full-year course, or even integrated into existing technology classes.
One-pager describing the course
Computer Science encompasses far more than just coding, and CS Discoveries will provide students with opportunities to explore the many facets of CS, both in terms of how they are personally relevant as well as how they impact society.
The first semester of CS Discoveries introduces students to computer science as a vehicle for problem solving, communication, and personal expression. As a whole, this semester focuses on the visible aspects of computing and computer science, and encourages students to see where computer science exists around them and how they can engage with it as a tool for exploration and expression.
Where the first semester centers on the immediately observable and personally applicable elements of computer science, the second semester asks students to look outward and explore the impact of computer science on society. Students will see how a thorough user-centered design process produces a better application, how data is used to address problems that affect large numbers of people, and how physical computing with bare circuit boards allows computers to collect input and return output in a variety of ways.
The CS Discoveries Curriculum Guide is a great place to start if you'd like an in-depth introduction to the curriculum before jumping into lessons. The curriculum guide contains details on the classroom and student practices that flow throughout the course, overviews of each of the units, and implementation considerations.
|Unit||Lesson Plans||Code Studio|
|Unit 1 - Problem Solving||Lesson plans||Code Studio|
|Unit 2 - Web Development||Lesson plans||Code Studio|
|Unit 3 - Animations and Games||Lesson plans||Code Studio|
|Unit 4 - The Design Process||Lesson plans||Code Studio|
|Unit 5 - Data and Society||Lesson plans||Code Studio|
|Unit 6 - Physical Computing||Lesson plans||Code Studio|
All units are released at this time and can be used by teachers and classrooms. Throughout Fall 2017, we will be releasing revised versions of Units 4 - 6 to incorporate feedback from our Spring 2017 pilot. this website frequently as we release drafted lesson plans!
CS Discoveries was written using both the K-12 Framework for Computer Science and the newly revised 2017 CSTA standards as guidance. Currently, every lesson in CS Discoveries contains mappings to the relevant 2017 CSTA standards. The summary of of all CSTA 2017 mappings can be found at curriculum.code.org/csd/standards
CS Discoveries consists of two semesters that build on each other. Schools can choose to teach a single semester, two sequential semesters, or a single, year-long course. For courses that meet fewer than three hours a week or last for less than a trimester, we recommend CS Fundamentals Express, a 30+ hour course that covers the foundational concepts of programming.
Some schools may want to use parts of the CS Discoveries curriculum without running an entire semester of the course. We always suggest starting with at least the first chapter of Unit 1 to build the classroom culture and problem solving skills the rest of the course depends on. Afterwards, students can move on to any of Units 2 - 5, either completing the entire unit or stopping at the end of the Chapter 1 project. Because of the programming knowledge required for Unit 6, students should only attempt it after completing Unit 3.
*** For teachers participating in our 2017-18 Professional Learning Program who are implementing the full-year version of the course, we will be subsidizing or partially subsidizing one classroom kit of Adafruit Circuit Playground Boards. This kit contains 15 boards and accessories and supports a classroom of 30 students, assuming a 2:1 ratio of students to boards. To learn more about the classroom kit, software requirements, and the details of the subsidy visit code.org/circuitplayground ***
The CS Discoveries course is deeply inspired by the philosophy of ECS, based on our experience teaching ECS, scaling it to thousands of classrooms nationwide, and evaluation of feedback from the teachers. This course teaches similar core concepts as ECS, and has a shared inquiry-based philosophy and teacher-learner-observer PD model. It also shares the same emphasis on equity which has pervaded Code.org's curriculum in other grade levels.
Learn more about Code.org's transition to CS Discoveries from Exploring Computer Science.