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Teaching Early Learners the Science Behind Computer Science

Posted by EiE Team on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Computer Science is everywhere and rapidly changing the way we interact with each other and the world around us. As STEM educators, we know there can be thousands of ways we interact with Computer Science every day -- our task is to show our learners how they can, too! 

Some of the examples are more obvious, like our smartphones and laptops, but we can guide our students to see examples of computer science and, if we look even closer, advanced coding in action in our day to day lives. Think of a stoplight. A cash register. Security cameras. Each one uses computer science, in varying degrees, to keep us safe or help us get through our day. But, look closer. How do we get hot water for our showers? How many computers did it take to build the cars on the road? What about the music we listen to? Or the movies we watch?

We partnered with Pixar Animation Studios to demonstrate how many different elements of Computer Science and coding are used to bring an animated movie to life in our hands-on exhibit. Now, you can explore the virtual exhibit, see behind-the-scenes clips from the animators of favorites like Toy Story and Monsters Inc, and learn about the science behind Pixar! As a bonus for educators, we have an exhibit guide and activity sheets -- free for you to use.  

Familiarizing our learners with the fundamentals of Computer Science and coding early can get them thinking critically about their surroundings and open the door to innovation down the line. With confidence and some structured guidance, our students will build the tools that shape our future, in STEM fields and beyond.  

What else can you do with Computer Science? 

  • Animation, music and game design
  • Health and medical technology innovation
  • Artificial Intelligence and robotics
  • Data analysis and trend-spotting
  • Cyber security and digital privacy
  • Genealogy and bioinformatics

As part of our series on Computer Science and Coding, we’d love to hear from you with questions you have about bringing these topics to your classroom. If there are ways you’ve succeeded or struggled to engage your learners in CS, let us know in the comments below!

Written by EiE Team

Topics: Computer Science

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