Our approach to computer science, computational thinking, and computer programming is interdisciplinary. We believe that “Computer Science for All” requires that these areas be woven throughout K-12 experiences. Doing so ensures that, in today’s technology-driven society, all students gain equitable access to career opportunities.
At The Tech we place a special emphasis on computational thinking (CT) since it is fundamental to computer programming and problem-solving, skills that allow youth to be creators, not just consumers, of digital content. CT is a problem-solving process that can be broadly applied across content areas and everyday life.
Computer Science Education Principles
Key principles for teaching computational thinking and computer programming in any setting.
Learn the four elements of computational thinking to solve problems big and small.
CT Lessons and Activities
Create a simple algorithm to model the life cycle of a butterfly. Then write this algorithm using conditionals and program it on a computer.
Lesson: 70 minutes
What's Happening to the Pikas?
In this unplugged computational thinking activity, learners will work in teams to investigate how human actions have impacted pikas. They will look for patterns to explore how climate change is threatening the pika’s survival.
Lesson: 50 minutes
Computer Vision: Buzz Solutions
Use this video and prompt to spark engagement: Computer vision is a type of artificial intelligence technology that teaches a computer how to identify certain objects in images. Can you think of an example of when a computer makes a task easier?
Drones: Buzz Solutions
Use this video and prompt to spark engagement: Vik built a drone and attached some pollution monitoring sensors on it to find out how polluted the air was in his city, New Delhi. How else do you imagine we could use drones to collect data? Can you think of a way that drones could solve problems in the world?
Patterns of the Moon
Apply computational thinking skills to identify patterns in the cycle of the moon. Then modify a computer program in Scratch that shows how the moon appears throughout the lunar cycle.
Lesson: 135 minutes
Create a sequence of questions to help you figure out what surfaces are contaminated after you or someone else does a task.
Lesson: 20-60 minutes
Analyzing Patterns in Voter Data
Analyze, map and graph voter data in this data science and computational thinking lesson. Then take on the role of data journalists to share the story of your data with others.
Lesson: 90 minutes
Cyber Security and Internet Safety Lessons
Our interactive Cyber Detectives exhibit empowers visitors to manage their own Internet safety. Introduce students to scams, digital forensics, and strategies for internet safety with these classroom activities designed in partnership with Discovery Education.
Creative Coding: The Internet of Things
As employees at a top tech company, students are tasked with adding a new non-tech product to the Internet of things.
Lesson: 60 minutes
Cryptobabel: Coded Communication
Students are presented with a top-secret scenario in which they must intercept a message from a spy.
Lesson: 75-90 minutes
Cyber Forensics: Digital Footprints
Students will take on the role of digital forensic investigators who have been tasked with investigating a recent store robbery.
Lesson: 45-55 minutes
Hashing and Cracking: Password Essentials
Students take on the role of an entrepreneur creating their own company website. How can they make the login system as secure as possible?
Lesson: 50-60 minutes
Tech for Tomorrow Virtual Field Trip
This career-focused virtual field trip takes your students on a road trip through Silicon Valley to meet some of the region’s smartest and most innovative tech experts. Viewers get a sneak peek inside some real-life medical labs, workshops and makerspaces and hear advice about how they can follow their passions to work in tech, too!
Along the way, they’ll get to experience some of our favorite exhibits and make the connection between what we do here and the exciting work of tech engineers and entrepreneurs.
Video: 30 min
Pre and Post activities: 90 min