Teaching the Computer Science Discoveries Course

Computer Science Discoveries (CSD) is an introductory computer science curriculum for students in Grades 6 through 10 that takes a wide lens on computer science by covering topics such as programming, physical computing, web development, design, and data. The curriculum inspires students as they build their own websites, apps, games, and physical computing devices. CSD is designed to be taught as two single-semester courses or a year-long introductory course. All curriculum resources and tutorials are free and available at Code.org.

CSD covers the following topics: problem solving, programming, web development, interactive animations and games, the design process, data and society, and physical computing.

The CSD course includes the following:

  • Opportunities for discovery and inquiry
  • Collaboration and pair programming
  • An outlet for creation and personal expression
  • A curriculum guide, daily lesson plans, and a teacher dashboard
  • Development environments for websites, games, and mobile apps


What is the Teaching Computer Science Discoveries Course MOOC-Ed?

The Teaching CSD Course Massive Open Online Course for Educators (MOOC-Ed) is designed to be used in either of two ways: in conjunction with a five-day, face-to-face professional development workshop that is offered each summer or as a stand-alone experience for teachers who have not attended a workshop. Though both experiences have similar goals, the face-to-face workshop uses role-play to actively explore and experiment with pedagogical techniques. In the online course, the focus is a deeper dive into content to bolster educators' computer science understanding and into the pedagogy underpinning the course.

MOOC-Ed Details
Start Date April 8, 2019
Duration 4 sessions
Cost Free
Primary Audience Grade 6-10 Teachers
Facilitators Sam Morris
Certificate Available Yes
Certificate Hours 20
Related Courses Teaching the CSD Course On-Demand PD Modules
Enroll Now in the MOOC-Ed!

What are the Teaching the Computer Science Discoveries Course On-Demand Professional Development Modules?

In addition to the MOOC-Ed, we're offering seven, on-demand professional development modules. The first helps with preparations to teach CSD and is followed by one module per unit of the CSD curriculum. You can complete modules at any time during the year in preparation for teaching each unit. The focus of each module is a "just-in-time" set of resources and a deeper dive into specific tools used to teach a unit's content.

PD Modules Details
Available On Demand
Duration 7 modules
Cost Free
Primary Audience Grade 6-10 Teachers
Certificate Available Yes
Certificate Hours 15-30
Related Courses Teaching the CSD Course MOOC-ED
Enroll Now in the Modules!

Both the MOOC-Ed and the on-demand professional development modules focus on the use of CSD as two single-semester courses or a full-year course. Using CSD as the foundation, they are designed to build on the curriculum and offer supports that prepare teachers with varied background knowledge and computer science teaching experience to successfully implement CSD in their classrooms. See the "Attributions" section under "Learn More" for more information about how the MOOC-Ed and the PD modules incorporate the CSD curriculum.

Course Objectives

MOOC-Ed

  • Understand the CSD curriculum content and pedagogy
  • Prepare to implement a student inquiry-based approach in your classroom
  • Model effective learning practices for students through the lead learner model
  • Develop a broad view of computer science to inform your teaching
  • Understand CSD pedagogy and how to apply it in your classroom
  • Become part of a network of educators who are doing similar work; develop a community of practice
Enroll Now in the MOOC-Ed!

On-Demand PD Modules

  • Understand the scope of computer science content in CSD
  • Develop an action plan that prepares you to implement CSD as a course in your classroom
  • Prepare to teach each CSD unit, with a focus on pedagogy, content, expected challenges, and strategies for meeting them
  • Become familiar with and understand how to use the specific tool(s) to be implemented in each CSD unit
  • Explore potential learning extensions in each CSD unit
Enroll Now in the Modules!

Learn More

Code.org

The Teaching the Computer Science Discoveries Course MOOC-Ed and On-Demand Professional Development Modules, developed by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University, include text, images, and videos from Code.org's Computer Science Discoveries curriculum for the purposes of supporting educators preparing to teach the Computer Science Discoveries course. The Computer Science Discoveries curriculum materials and the Code.org Terms of Service can be found on the Code.org website.

All curriculum resources and tutorials authored by Code.org, including Computer Science Discoveries, will forever be free to use and openly licensed under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, allowing others to make derivative education resources with attribution for non-commercial purposes.

K–12 Computer Science Framework

The Teaching the Computer Science Discoveries Course MOOC-Ed and On-Demand Professional Development Modules, developed by the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University, also include text and downloadable excerpts from the K–12 Computer Science Framework for the purposes of supporting educators preparing to teach Code.org's Computer Science Discoveries course. The original version of the K–12 Computer Science Framework can be found on k12cs.org.

The K–12 Computer Science Framework is licensed under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to contributors and CSD teachers Nancy Stevens and Russell Strand-Poole.

Funders

NC State University

BelleJAR

MOOC-Ed

  • Session 1: What Is Computer Science?
    The first session introduces you to computer science as a field of study and to computational thinking as a form of critical thinking that leverages concepts integral to computer science. It provides background information that will serve as a foundation for a deeper understanding of CSD, its curriculum values, and its pedagogical approach.
  • Session 2: Getting Oriented to the CSD Curriculum
    This session will familiarize you with the CSD curriculum resources and features to prepare you to more easily find and utilize all the resources you need to teach CSD.
  • Session 3: The Lead Learner Model
    This session focuses on the importance of your role as the lead learner in the CSD classroom and strategies for effectively implementing it.
  • Session 4: Broadening Participation in Computer Science
    The final session introduces you to the "why" behind empowering students to learn computer science and computational thinking skills. It also prepares you to build a diverse and equitable CSD classroom by providing strategies to address well-known equity gaps within the field.

On-Demand PD Modules

  • Module 1: Preparing to Teach CSD
    The first module will help you address common logistical and implementation challenges as you prepare to successfully kick off your CSD course.
  • Modules for CSD Units 1 through 6
    In each module for CSD Units 1 through 6, you'll find opportunities to dig deeper into the core frameworks of the unit, see videos of the unit's lessons in action and teachers sharing their experiences, experiment with concepts and tools yourself, get tips to help you address common logistical and implementation challenges, get practical information on pacing and logistics, and reflect on how the unit will work in the context of your classroom. There is a module for each CSD unit:
    • Unit 1: Problem Solving and Computing
    • Unit 2: Web Development
    • Unit 3: Interactive Animations and Games
    • Unit 4: The Design Process
    • Unit 5: Data and Society
    • Unit 6: Physical Computing

As you engage in supporting your own professional development, there are many ways to demonstrate your learning and earn recognition through this course that can be applied toward continuing education units (CEUs) through your own local educational agency. Certificates of completion will be offered for both the MOOC-Ed and the set of On-Demand PD modules. You can submit the certificate(s) to your local agency with a request for CEUs. Granting of CEUs will be subject to the policies and procedures of your state and local agency. If you have questions about how CEUs will be granted, please check with your local agency.

MOOC-Ed

To maximize your learning opportunities, we suggest doing the following to earn a certificate for 20 hours of professional development. While we hope you engage with many of the materials in the course, at a minimum to earn the certificate of completion, you must:

  • Access and engage with video and other resources in each session.
  • Complete all activities.
  • Participate in session discussions (post at least one original post and one reply in each discussion forum) for each session.
  • Complete the session feedback surveys and a post-course survey about the MOOC-Ed and provide suggestions for improving the MOOC-Ed in the future.

Certificates will be available for download after the requirements are met.

On-Demand PD Modules

The On-Demand PD modules are designed to meet your specific needs. You can participate in just one, more than one, or all modules. However, to maximize your learning opportunities and earn a certificate that can be submitted to your local agency with a request for CEUs, we suggest choosing from three options:

  • Option A: Complete Modules 1, 2, 3, and 4 to earn a certificate for 15 hours of professional development.
  • Option B: Complete Modules 1, 5, 6, and 7 to earn a certificate for 15 hours of professional development.
  • Option C: Complete both Options A and B (completing Module 1 only once) to earn two certificates, each for 15 hours of professional development (30 hours total).

While we hope you engage with many of the modules and materials offered, to earn a certificate, you must do the following at a minimum in each of the options:

  • Complete and share an action plan with other CSD teachers in the Preparing to Teach CSD module.
  • Access and engage with videos and other resources.
  • Complete each "Sneak Peek" and "Try It Yourself" activity.
  • Participate in discussions (post at least one original post and one reply in each discussion forum).
  • Complete the module feedback surveys and a post-course survey about the series of On-Demand PD Modules and provide suggestions for improving them in the future.

Certificates will be available for download after the requirements are met.

Nancy Stevens photo

Nancy Stevens

Nancy Stevens is a business and information technology teacher at Dare County Schools in North Carolina. She teaches Introduction to Computer Science and AP Computer Science Principles. She is a Microsoft Certified Educator, Google Certified Educator, and a Code.org Facilitator for Computer Science Discoveries.

Russell Strand-Poole photo

Russell Strand-Poole

Russell Strand-Poole teaches computer science to kindergarten through eighth grade students at Little River School in Durham, North Carolina. Russell got his master's in music performance and has taught fourth grade music, but has found a love for teaching computer science. Russell is a Code.org Facilitator for Computer Science Discoveries.

Ann Behar photo

Ann Behar

Ann Behar currently teaches middle school computer science, technology, and business classes in Washington, North Carolina. She is a National Board Certified Teacher. Ann worked as an accountant and financial analyst in the healthcare and retail industries for 15 years before transitioning to corporate and business training. She has worked in public education at the community college, high school, and middle school levels as a business and information technology teacher for over 20 years.

Susan Jinks photo

Susan Jinks

Dr. Susan Jinks is an engineering and design and Computer Science Discoveries middle school teacher in Moore County, North Carolina. In the past, Susan has worked as an instructional technology coach, elementary teacher, and high school teacher. She helped a school deploy a 1:1 laptop program and establish a Makerspace in the school library. She is a Google for Education Certified Teacher, Certified Trainer, and Certified Innovator. Her doctoral work focused on the factors that lead to the perception of learning within a graduate online course.

Danial Nijhout-Rowe photo

Danial Nijout-Rowe

Danial Nijout-Rowe decided to leave the world of medical physics research in 2005 to pursue something much more challenging: teaching high school math and computer science. Since then he has earned his Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree from Duke University and created curriculum that integrates math and science with art for both the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Nasher Museum of Art. He has been a believer in Code.org's approach to computer science education since his first Exploring Computer Science training years ago. Danial holds a BS in Mathematics and Physics as well as his MAT. Prior to becoming a teacher, his physics research involved writing computer programs and building physical computer interfaces in the laboratory. His non-computer science workshop topics include integrating art into math curriculum and how good class structure leads to more freedom as a teacher.

Melanie VonBraunsberg photo

Melanie VonBraunsberg

Melanie VonBraunsberg previously taught high school for three and a half years and is now in her fifth year of teaching middle school. She started incorporating code into the classroom a couple of years ago and, now that she is using Code.org, she enjoys seeing her students want to learn more about coding and all the wonderful things they can do with it.

MOOC-Eds at the Friday Institute provide a scalable, accessible, and flexible approach that is aligned with the research-based principles of effective professional learning. Our approach is grounded in authentic, active, and collaborative professional learning activities. The approach builds upon the following key design principles:

  1. Self-directed, job-connected, personalized learning, to enable you to focus your time and attention on what you will find most valuable, whether you want to learn more about specific computer science concepts, engaging underrepresented populations in computer science, or many other topics relevant to successfully implementing the CSD curriculum.
  2. Multiple perspectives, so you will have opportunities to learn from computer science experts, experienced CSD teachers and PD facilitators, teachers who are also preparing to teach CSD, students, and professionals who use computer science in their jobs.
  3. Peer-supported learning, to enable you to learn from other teachers and to share your ideas, questions, and experiences with your online colleagues.
  4. Anywhere, anytime learning, so that you can use the MOOC-Ed and the On-Demand PD modules as you teach the curriculum and continue your learning as you go.

Overall, you are invited to use the MOOC-Ed and the On-Demand PD modules in any way and on any schedule that helps you become a successful CSD teacher!

You will see these design principles implemented in our courses through the following instructional elements:

  • Conceptual frameworks
  • Resource collections
  • Asynchronous discussions
  • Student scenarios
  • Expert interviews
  • Crowd-sourcing