Students at Winslow Middle School will be exposed to a brand new Project Lead the Way (PTLW) Computer Science course during the 2017-2018 school year. Middle school is often seen as a time of exploration. It is a time when students are exploring what they’re excited about today and how that relates to who they’ll become tomorrow. During this transitional time, PLTW courses empower students to lead their own discovery. The hands-on program boosts classroom engagement and excitement, drives collaboration, and inspires higher order thinking and deep comprehension. And as students engage in PLTW’s activities in computer science, they will see a range of paths and possibilities that they can look forward to in high school and beyond. During the 2017-2018 year, our students will be exposed to two PTLW Computer Science units of study:
Computer Science for Innovators and Makers
This Project Lead The Way unit will allow our students to discover computer science concepts and skills by creating personally relevant, tangible, and shareable projects. Throughout the unit, students will learn about programming for the physical world by blending hardware design and software development. They will design and develop a physical computing device, interactive art installation, or wearable, and plan and develop code for microcontrollers that bring their physical designs to life.
Additionally, physical computing projects will promote student awareness of interactive systems, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and broaden their understanding of abstract computer science concepts through meaningful and authentic applications.
This Project Lead the Way unit will expose our students to computer science by computationally analyzing and developing solutions to authentic problems through mobile app development, and will convey the positive impact of the application of computer science to other disciplines and to society.
Students will customize their experience by choosing a problem that interests them from the areas of health, environment, emergency preparedness, education, community service, and school culture. Because problems in the real world involve more than one discipline, the unit will introduce students to biomedical science concepts as they work on solutions for the specific problems they choose to tackle.
Additional Program Exposures:
Scratch is a free visual programming language developed by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab. Scratch is used by students to create animations, games, etc. It provides a stepping stone to the more advanced world of computer programming. It can also be used for a range of educational and entertainment constructionist purposes from math and science projects, including simulations and visualizations of experiments, recording lectures with animated presentations, to social sciences animated stories, and interactive art and music.
LittleBits for Coding
LittleBits is a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks for creating inventions. With LittleBits coding, students learn to program by building games with their own custom code.