Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Computer Science and NGSS Practices

We had a class discussion today about computer science and investigated answers to questions like:

What is computer science?
Why is computer science important?
What do computer scientists do?
How do computer scientists help us?
How do they change the world around us?
What science and engineering practices (NGSS) do computer scientists use in their job?

With the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) recently released, we have been connecting the science and engineering practices to what we do in class.
1.  Asking questions and defining problems.
2.  Developing and using models.
3.  Planning and carrying out investigations.
4.  Analyzing and interpreting data.
5.  Using mathematics and computational thinking.
6.  Constructing explanations and designing solutions.
7.  Engaging in argument from evidence.
8.  Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

Here are some responses from my third and fourth graders:

"I learned about coding and computer scientists.  Some types of scientists make things automatic like stoplights.  Some people think that since computers are tools, it's OK to be on it, but you have to use that tool wisely.  Computer scientists have to solve problems and get data to do their job."

"People (computer scientists) use practice number 6 - constructing explanations and designing solutions.  We've used it when programming because you might make mistakes so you would have to design solutions to make something work.  (They) also use this practice when they automate something."

"Today we learned about computer science and computer scientists.  People that program have to make a simulation.  People can help the world with computer programming and can help schools too.  For example, they made a website that grades things automatically."

"I learned that computer scientists program computers and so do we.  When you program a computer you use data.  You can program a computer to do things automatically like you can program a traffic light to time how long each light stays green.  Computer science is all around our environment.  It is in traffic lights, phones, computers, schools, buildings, and almost anywhere."

"What I learned about computer science is that people automate many things that used to done by hand.  Almost every job needs a computer scientist.  Practice number 6, which is "Constructing explanations and designing solutions," many computer scientists design things as a solution to people's questions. "

"Today I learned that computer scientists make life a lot easier.  For example, they use data to program things.  They also use science practice number 2, using models.  This is called simulation.  Sometimes we use ourselves as the models.  For instance, in class we do robotics.  We are stuck on a challenge to make the robot go in a square so sometimes, we pretend to be the robot."

"I learned that computer scientists are used in every profession.  They make some things automated like lights.  They program their products with data.  They also help with our everyday environment such as a car.  Computer scientists and computer science is very important for everyone."

"Today I learned about computer science and automation make life easier.  All of this is done by computer scientists that program things to do something.  Yet to do this, they must have a lot of data.  Data is information on certain things like amounts.  This whole things relates to practice #4 (analyzing and interpreting data) because without that, they couldn't get data to program automated things."

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