Computer Science Discoveries (CS Discoveries) is an introductory computer science course that empowers students to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun.
Identifying a computer
This lesson serves as a transition out of the first chapter of Unit 1 and into the second chapter. Up until now, students have considered the potential of computers as problem solving devices, but not established what a computer actually is. In this lesson, students will consider different types of computers and that these computers input, store, process, and output information as part of the problem solving process. Upcoming lessons will dive much deeper into what an information problem looks like and how computers solve these problems.
Develop an Algorithm
This lesson serves multiple roles. It is another opportunity for students to collaboratively problem-solve. The main activity is a challenging problem that emphasizes the importance of testing solutions on multiple inputs, breaking down large problems, and iterative improvement. In sharing their solutions students see that there are many equally valid solutions to the same problem. These are features students will see in many of the problems they will encounter through the course. This lesson also introduces the concepts of processing and algorithms. The definitions of processing and algorithms presented in this lesson are intentionally high-level. Students should understand that processing is whatever a computer does to turn inputs to outputs, and that using a computer to process information requires developing an algorithm that reliably does so. The goal of this lesson is NOT for students to understand and compare different classic sorting algorithms, or even necessarily to formalize their own.
Propose an App
This project combines the two major themes of Unit 1, problem solving, and the input-output-store-process model of a computer. This project ties both themes to a broader goal of identifying real world problems and finding ways to use technology to help solve them. Students collaborate in the creation of their app and also take part in a structured peer review process that they will see many more times throughout the course. This project should be a fun and creative experience as well, and gives students a chance to tie the field of computer science to their own interests and ambitions.
Problem Solving Unit
Student groups developed boat from a 5X5 piece of tin foil. They needed to create a boat to hold as many pennies as possible. There were two attempts. After the first attempt, students were to assess their first attempt, students revised their boat after discussing the advantages and disadvantages of their original design.