Solution: Grades 1 to 5
The lower school computer science curriculum is aimed at moving the
students away from simply interacting with educational software to using
simple programming languages and packages to create their own programs.
This change will be very gradual. The students will go from using simple
educational software to using graphical computer programming languages
like ToonTalk to languages that take text-based commands and give graphical
feedback, like Logo. After this, students will be introduced to a software
application like Game Maker that will teach basic object oriented programming
techniques with a simple drag-and-drop interface, thus removing the
need to learn a complex programming language. The use of all this software
will be complemented by exercises that do no involve the use of machines.
Examples of such exercises are given in the specific
the students will have weekly class periods using software
programs such as The Incredible Machine and The Incredible Toon
Machine, which explore critical thinking and puzzle/problem-solving
techniques. Building complex machines out of simple everyday objects
conceptually translates well into how programming works; almost all
arbitrarily-complex programs are built from a core set of data structures
and functions acting on those structures. Additionally, other supplemental
software will be used to teach science concepts and basic reasoning
skills. For example, Deluxe Crayon Physics and Armadillo can be used
to teach physics concepts.
with existing criteria:
At this stage, it is still important to relate computer science topics
to the accompanying curricula of the other core subjects. At the beginning,
the concepts will be taught at such an abstracted and simple level that
the students will most likely not even understand that they are in fact
learning computer science and programming concepts. The subjects that
will most lend themselves to integration with the proposed computer
curricula are math, geometry, and science. As explained in one Logo
study, the addition of computer science as a core class at this stage
will be particularly effective for children "because it is a treasury
of accessible, colorful and active mathematics. For introducing children
to mathematical science, it is unmatched in terms by any other resource.
We choose to think of computer science as the modern geometry, but a
thousand times more vivid, varied, engaging, and open to exploration.
Mathematics, the language of science, and its principle modern branch,
computer science can be presented to children in these grades in wonderfully
engaging and active ways, emphasizing their role as the language of
science and technology" (Fellows).
1st grade: Finish
using packages like GCompris. Move on to using ToonTalk.
2nd grade: Play with Deluxe Crayon Physics and introduce the
Logo programming language.
3rd grade: The Incredible Toon Machine and more Logo.
4th grade: The Incredible Machine combined with GameMaker to
create simple games.
5th grade: Use Armadillo to introduce physical science. Then,
students will make extensive use of GameMaker or other alternatives
to create more sophisticated games. In the case of GameMaker, the students
eventually will be introduced to the GameMaker scripting language. The
last half of the year will be used for a team-based game-creation course
culminating with a final competition. The competition does not have
to be technical in nature; for instance, it could be used to generate
educational software for younger students, as in the Kafai study.