Morgan Park Academy’s Computer Science curriculum begins in Lower School, with classes that introduce the fundamental concepts of CS to all students, beginning even before children learn to read.
During tech classes, MPA students are introduced to CS principles through algorithmic thinking. A typical lesson for kindergarten would include a brief discussion of the concept, followed by a series of computer activities on pattern recognition in computing.
Students in grades 1-5 streamline their focus on algorithmic thinking through loops and conditionals. Each class has a different goal; thus, student expectations are clearly defined. We accomplish these goals through various teacher-led, independent, and collaborative learning activities.
I try to make these activities fun for young learners; it is vital that students enjoy their newfound experience of programming. I’m also hands-on with the students, which means logging onto my device and working together to problem-solve these activities. It’s important for students to see me participate and to know that we’re a team!
I’m often impressed with the consistency of young learners; they’re fascinated with technology and love to code. Usually, the material for CS is dense, so it’s important to make adjustments along the way to better accommodate student needs. You have to find the balance and keep momentum.
Although challenging at times, upon completion, students have an impressive skill set of logical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration, and communication. With this achievement, MPA students are now prepared to further explore more complex Computer Science courses in Middle School and Upper School.
By Shavonne Terry
Ms. Terry teaches technology classes at all levels as our Educational Technology Coordinator.