Pilot Programs to Introduce Coding


Introducing Computer Science in the Classroom

Perla Weaver

Pilot Teacher, Computer Science and Software

Engineering, Project Lead the Way

Wyandotte High School

Kansas City Kansas Public Schools

Why Computer Science?

• Increasing demand from industry

• Decreasing supply of graduates in computing fields

• Computational thinking and skills are not inherently taught in the classroom

– False perception that by teaching math skills and science we are inherently teaching computing skills

How do you get started?

• Introduce short activities: One time events e.g. Hour of Code, Coder Dojos, Hackathons

• After school clubs: Teacher-Endorsed,


• Get your principal and administration on board.

• Aim for curriculum presence.

• Explore partnerships: Code.org

Curriculum Options

• Project Lead the Way – new Computer Science pathway

• College Board – Computer Science Principles

• CodeHS

• Exploring Computer Science

• The beauty and joy of computing

• Code.org

PLTW – Computer Science and

Software Engineering (CSE)

• Introductory course

• No prior computer science or coding required

• Explores four main areas of computing

– Graphics and Graphical User Interfaces (GUI)

– The Web

– Data discovery and Application Invention

– Predicting, Understanding, and Communicating with Simulation


Code Exploration

• Multiple programming environments: Scratch,

App Inventor, Python, HTML/CSS, and more.

• Computational concepts: binary code, abstraction, variables, data structures

• Problem solving through computing algorithms

• Foster creativity using programming as a tool


More than just Coding

• Impact and presence of computing

• History and Future of Computing

• Social, legal, and ethical issues in computing

• Career Paths in Computing

• Computing and other fields


“First try” Observations

• Curriculum is rigorous and filled with new concepts

– Students struggle and succeed

– Mastery is not the goal

– Goal is understanding through creation, exploration, inquisition.

• Curriculum may be best in a year long setting

– Concepts need time and practice



• Activities are flexible

– Students can develop various levels of proficiency

• Programming environments and areas of study are varied

– Wide opportunity for personal interests

– Wide array of applications

• Creativity is fun

– Students love to see solutions: games, phone apps, animations, web sites.



• Similar performance among ethnic groups

• Girls

– Higher engagement in class

– More questions – less afraid to say “I don’t know”

– Higher rate of project completion

– Slightly lower complexity of projects


Professional Development

• PLTW provides PD as part of their standard summer training

• Teachers do not need to be programmers or computer experts

• Many sources of materials, lessons, ideas

• Many sources for self-paced learning