Intro to Computer Science
On-Line for the 2020-2021 School Year
Teacher: Rebekah Lang
Course Description: Click here for an introductory video! Intro to Computer Science is a pre-AP course designed for students in grades 6 and up. I will be using resources adapted for our unique online course format from Code.org's Computer Science Discoveries curriculum as well as the Exploring Computer Science curriculum. Here's a 2 page curriculum overview!
In this course, you will
- Build problem solving skills and learn to become a computational thinker
- Understand how computers use algorithms, logic, and math to run programs
- Create a website using HTML and CSS inside Code.org’s Web Lab environment
- Discuss the issues of data security, privacy, and social responsibility online
- Work with "unplugged" activities at home and complete online work with widgets, Game lab, discussion boards and more
- Gather and analyze and report on data, while considering how computers work with big data
- Discover the relationship between hardware and software with AdaFruit Circuit Playground
You will be interacting with your classmates and the teacher primarily through Schoology.com, email, and weekly live class meetings via Zoom. I strongly encourage students to attend the live meetings, but I also record them for asynchronous viewing later. During those live meetings, I will review upcoming homework assignments, teach key concepts, encourage student presentations and chat, and utilize adapted cooperative learning strategies to engage all students in the class and build a community of learners. On Schoology, you will participate in discussions, submit projects, post resources, upload homework, and complete assessments. We will also have some partner coding and group projects activities during the year.
Who Should Apply: Anyone interested in creative problem solving, logical thinking, and learning! This course introduces middle and high school students to computer science with plenty of hands-on, "unplugged" lessons that can be completed independently or with family and friends. Intro to Computer Science is a good pre-AP course for students not quite ready for the challenges of an AP computer science course.
Prerequisites: There are none! As the name suggests, this course is an introduction to computer science. Its goal is to make computer science accessible and interesting for all! High school students with a background in coding or computer science might want to consider AP Computer Science Principles or AP Computer Science A instead.
- We will be using material available free from Code.org, ExploringCS.org and other online sources
- You will also need the following materials:
- Normal school supplies (pens, pencils, coloring, scissors, extra paper)
- A deck of cards
- Aluminum foil
- An Code.org Adafruit Circuit Playground Board kit (available online for $29.95 + shipping; if you are signing up with a sibling or nearby friend, you can share a board! --I will try to coordinate resale of the 2020 students' boards... email me in June for a potentially cheaper used board).
- Computer with audio and high-speed internet access, and the ability to support the AdaFruit Playground Board (compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux and Chromebook)
- A Gmail account
- A way to get print documents and pictures onto your computer (scanner or cell phone camera is fine)
Course Fee: Early Bird Fee $550 (good before July 1, 2020). Applicants utilizing a staggered payment plan are not eligible for the Early Bird discount. Regular Tuition Fee $650 (July 1, 2020 or later). Audit: $300.
You can attend the weekly live meetings via Zoom on Tuesdays from 10:00 am - 11:00 am EDT. If at least 20 students enroll in the course, I will survey those enrolled for availability and offer a second live meeting time as well.
Class will run Monday, September 14 through approximately Friday, May 14, 2021, except for the following breaks:
- November 21 - 29 for Thanksgiving break
- December 19 - January 3 for winter break
- March 27 - April 5th for spring break.
The majority of the classwork is assigned and due weekly, so students can schedule around other holidays or needed days off.
Instructor Qualifications: This will be my second year teaching this course for PA Homeschoolers (and my fourth year teaching computer science for them overall)! I am a lifelong teacher and learner who has taught in public, charter, private and online for PA Homeschoolers, for middle and high school students, for the past 12 years. Additionally, I was homeschooled, so I understand how diverse, independent, intelligent and engaged homeschool students are. I'm excited to be able to offer this course to work alongside students and parents to explore computer science!
In addition to earning my BA in English and Secondary Education from Grove City College, I also have a MS in curriculum and instruction from Western Governors University, a certificate from Penn State University Lehigh Valley for teaching English Language Learners, various state teaching certifications for NJ and PA, and educator certifications from various tech companies. Recently, I have attended CSpd week once, the annual CSTA conference twice, and a Code.org weeklong AP CSP Summer Learning Institute. I have also participated in Cooperative Learning Research for Computer Science Principles.
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