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


Exploring Computer Science

The beauty and joy of computing


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


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