Computer Science Integration With Traditional Science Disciplines


An alarming trend was identified at the presenter’s school (grades 9-12). Few female students and students of color were enrolled in "accelerated" 9th and 10th-grade compulsory courses. Even worse, those students dropped out of "accelerated" courses at much higher rates than their white male counterparts, such that female students and students of color were conspicuously absent from more challenging, upper-level science electives. This was especially true for computer science electives. The department concluded that the leveling of 9th-grade science (physics) was partly to blame, as well as a lack of exposure to computer science and engineering in early high school. The department therefore undertook an effort to rewrite the compulsory science curriculum to eliminate leveling in 9th-grade, and incorporate computer science instruction in both 9th and 10th grades. This has led to significant increases in the enrollment of female students and students of color in "accelerated" courses and computer science electives. This workshop will focus primarily on the pragmatic implementation of computer science into other disciplines utilizing a free, open-source program called p5.js. The program was developed by two graduate students at the MIT Media Lab to promote software literacy. The presenter uses this in the 9th-grade science to integrate computer science with physics. Students in this workshop will work through a series of deliberate exercises to gain familiarity with this program. The end goal is to become proficient enough to plant the seed for lessons that could integrate computer science with their discipline.

Author Information
Michael Guarraia, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2021
Stream: Curriculum Design & Development

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