Exploring Computer Science
Teacher: Mr. Andy Oakland
Co-Teacher: Mr. Jacky IsmeusCourse Overview
Exploring Computer Science is designed to introduce students to the breadth of the field of computer science through an exploration of engaging and accessible topics. Rather than focusing the entire course on learning particular software tools or programming languages, the course is designed to focus the conceptual ideas of computing and help students understand why certain tools or languages might be utilized to solve particular problems. The goal of Exploring Computer Science is to develop in students the computational thinking practices of algorithm development, problem solving and programming within the context of problems that are relevant to the lives of today’s students. Students will also be introduced to topics such as interface design, limits of computers and societal and ethical issues.
This curriculum has been developed for a culturally, linguistically, and socially diverse group of students in Los Angeles Unified School District. District-wide, student ethnicities include .3% American Indian, 3.7% Asian, .4% Pacific Islander, 2.3% Filipino, 73.0% Latino, 10.9% African American, 8.8% White, and .6% Other or multiple responses. Over 38% of students are English-language learners, with most English language learners’ students speaking Spanish as their primary language. Furthermore, 74% of students qualify for free or reduced lunches.
The standards used for the Exploring Computer Science curriculum are based on the topics and goals outlined in A Model Curriculum for K-12 Computer Science (2006) developed by the ACM K-12 task force curriculum committee. Most of the objectives in the course align with the Level III course, Computer Science as Analysis and Design, while some objectives are necessarily aligned with the Level II course, Computer Science in the Modern World, in order to provide appropriate background knowledge for the more advanced topics.
An ideal laboratory environment for this course would include one computer for each student in the class. These computers can be either Macintosh or PC depending on availability. A networked system would make installation of software easier for the teacher.
Each computer in the classroom should have a web browser installed that allows students to perform searches and make use of a variety of websites and internet tools. Teachers will need to download and install the Scratch programming language available at http://www.scratch.mit.edu. All website url’s were updated at the time of this writing, but may change over time.
This course will be considered a college preparatory elective for California students. It is recommended that students have completed an Algebra course prior to enrolling. Thus, the course should provide a rigorous, but accessible, introduction to computer science. No previous computer science course is required to take this course.
IT Problem Solving
AP Computer Science