Free ticketed event
Children are familiar with computers, tablets, and smartphones. However, few understand the computer science concepts behind their favorite apps, games, and websites. This workshop will help K-12 teachers and those who do outreach with ideas for incorporating computer science (CS) concepts into their programs. Participants will complete several fun hands-on activities that have been successfully used within fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms. Participants will also learn content and receive suggestions for working with younger and older students.
The workshop will cover the basics of binary numbers, cryptography using Caesar cipher and public key encryption, computer network terminology, mechanics of computer network message passing, computer security, and computer network topology. In addition, these activities promote teamwork and problem-solving skills, both extremely important for success in STEM fields and careers. The entire sequence is designed to fit into a one- to two-hour classroom time slot, but the activities can be broken into separate components for ease of adding to ongoing class curriculum or daily during a computer/technology week. The workshop will teach participants how to put together “kits” of all the materials necessary to successfully complete the activities with students. To appeal to K-12 teachers and outreach practitioners with minimal budgets, all materials for these activities are extremely low-cost. Additionally, the supplies are easily obtainable at a variety of stores and online and the majority of the supplies are reusable so only need to be purchased initially.
During the workshop participants will be taught to create a Computer Science Concept Kit. The majority of this kit contains one-time preparation and only a small portion needs to be replenished or refreshed. The materials for the kit are listed below:
Supplies and Costs:
- 2 Colors of Pony Beads
$5.00 per 1 pack of 750-1000 beads
- Key chain or bracelets
$3.00 per 1 park of 28 key rings + $3.00 per 100 yds for 10 inch keychains for 30
$3.50 per 50 ft for 60, 9-inch stretch bracelets
- White, Black, and Gray Plastic Party Hats
$1.00-2.00 per hat
- Lockable Box
$3.00-5.00 per box
$1.00-5.00 for one luggage lock with two keys
- Prizes for Messages
$0.05 and up for stickers
- Matching pairs of erasers
$1.00-5.00 for 4-12 sets
(Alternative suggestions will be provided at the workshop).
All items are easily available at a variety of stores or online. The listed cost per kit is $30.00-70.00 for a class of approximately 30 students. Of the materials only $14.00-20.00 need to be replenished between uses. Of the more expensive items (reusable and not), there are various lower-cost alternatives suggested.
Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph
Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph is a Lecturer at The University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Computer Science. Research interests include: Artificial Intelligence, Fuzzy Logic, Game Theory, Teaching Computer Science, Outreach of STEM, Women in STEM, and Software Engineering.
Dr. Kimberlyn Gray
Dr. Kimberlyn Gray is an Assistant Professor at West Virginia University Institute of Technology in the department of Chemical Engineering. She coordinated STEM outreach for the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences.