Computer Science

Week of March 18, 2019

Classes in grades PreK-First moved to working with Cozmo robots. The Cozmo robots use incentive meters to encourage interaction. Much like caring for a pet, Cozmo requires attention from students as they have to “feed” it, play with it, and “tune” it. It exhibits artificial intelligence behaviors as it interacts with its environment. Also, it has a full block-based programming interface that will be useful for older grades.

Grades 2 through 5 began a unit on programming in Scratch to learn how 3D perspective and motion work by creating the beginnings of a Minecraft game. Students will learn how a game responds to user input in the form of key presses and mouse movement. This continues their learning about event-based programming.

Week of January 21, 2019

Classes in grades PreK-First moved into their robotics unit. They became familiar with the features of the Dash robot. Using the Go app, they drove their robots through a maze. The next lesson will focus on coding the robot.

Grades 2 and 3 finished their Dash robot unit with a “final exam” to escape a trap. They had to use triggers that reacted to obstacles with movements.

Grades 4 and 5 worked on their final project in the Lego Mindstorms robotics unit. They programmed their robots to find a red patch inside of a multi-robot arena. This was a fun competitive event.

Week of November 26, 2018

Classes in grades PreK-First dove into the Code.org platform, learning how to program a character to move around a maze achieving puzzle goals. This involved sequential thinking, problem solving (debugging), and trial/error.

Grades 2 and 3 were introduced to the Dash robot. They learned about the hardware elements and began to work through the fundamental skills needed to create more free-form solutions.

Grades 4 and 5 continued working with the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robots. They learned about a powerful robotics block called the “random number generator.” This block can be used to help robots adapt to unpredictable environments.

Week of November 5, 2018

Classes in grades PreK-1 learned about the mouse. On the MacBooks, they practiced using a simple jigsaw puzzle challenge and with a paintbrush program. The most difficult concept was drag-and-drop, but with practice many students were becoming proficient. Once students have mastered the mouse, they will move on to using the gesture touch pad.

Grades 2 and 3 worked more on completing the introductory lessons on Code.org. These lessons use a maze puzzle to have students work on sequencing and debugging skills.

Grades 4 and 5 began work with the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robots. They learned the basics on how to steer the driver robot around obstacles. After this they will move on to understanding how sensors provide a means to trigger their algorithms.

Week of October 15, 2018

Classes in grades PreK-1 continued to work with the Code-a-pillars and a Lego game created by Mr. Rusk to practice directional programming in an unplugged environment.        

Classes in grades 2 through 5 viewed a short computer science video about programming fireworks and continued their work in Blockly (Code.org).                                         

Week of October 8, 2018

Classes (grades 2-5) continued working in the Blockly programming. The lessons looked at how to debug programs using the STEP feature. In 4th and 5th grade, students also learned the Artist module, where they programmed drawings using angles and lengths.

Classes in grades PreK-1 worked with the Code-a-pillars and a Lego game created by Mr. Rusk to practice directional programming in an unplugged environment.        

Week of October 1, 2018

Classes (grades 2-5) were introduced to the coding environment called Blockly, a block-based programming environment offered through Code.org. Block-based programming environments are even used by some universities to teach students programming concepts. These environments allow students to practice the logical aspects of programming without having to become familiar with the syntax of a text-based programming language.

Classes in grades PreK-1 were part of an unplugged lesson exploring the concept of debugging. We read a story about finding bugs (double meaning) and learned about a process to find bugs. We also coded human-actor robots to travel across a grid to a target and looked at debugging our Code-a-pillar.

                                                   

                                         

Week of September 17, 2018

We wrapped up our first round of introductory lessons to students where students learned about the routines of the computer science classroom and explored simple circuits with littleBits. For the next lesson, some of the older students will be learning some programming basics using their accounts in Code.org. Students will be allowed to connect to this resource for extension activities outside of class. The younger students will be working with some “unplugged” activities to learn about debugging and persistence.

For next week, the following homerooms will attend:

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

M/P

Spierto

Anthony

K

Nesmith

Gray

Whittington

1

Klanderman

Wright

2

Kuleski

Knowlan

Stein

3

Stoker

4

Timke

Vincent

Rollheiser

5

Standley

Olmsted

Week of September 10, 2018

Computer science classes are in full swing at Discovery! All of the classes were filled with enthusiastic learners as we discussed the rules and routines of the computer science classroom. We also spent time with our littleBits components to build a simple circuit: power source>switch>light.

For next week, the following homerooms will attend:

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

M/P

K

Hughes

1

Wright

Duncan

Upshur

Healey

2

Coulouris

3

Stoker

Clark

Alverson

Scopellite

4

Appaiah

5

Bridges

Oby

Olmsted

Zarkowsky

Standley

Week of September 4, 2018

Computer science classes begin on Monday, September 10. The first couple of lessons will focus on the cybersecurity strand where students will learn about protecting personal information and acceptable use of technology.

For next week, the following homerooms will attend:

Spierto

Anthony

Hughes

Nesmith

Gray

Whittington

Klanderman

Coulouris

Kuleski

Richard

Stein

Appaiah

Timke

Vincent

Rollheiser

Standley

Week of August  27, 2018

Discovery is excited to be offering the very first computer science class to all students. The course will be guided by the computer science learning objectives that were established in 2017 by the Virginia Department of Education. We will be using many different curricular resources to implement these objectives including Code.org, Lego Robotics, and other learning systems.

Each homeroom at Discovery, grades pre-kindergarten to fifth, will attend a 45-minute computer science class once every 9 school days. There they will be engaged in learning in the six areas of the course:

  1. Algorithms and Programming
  2. Computing Systems
  3. Cyber Security
  4. Data and Analysis
  5. Impacts of Computing
  6. Networking and the Internet

If you are in the Twitterverse, highlights will be posted at @DscAPSCompSci. Please feel free to follow that handle. In addition, weekly updates will appear in this Learning Log.

Check out this Code.org video about how computer science is everywhere!