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CS-FAST
Computer Science - Fundamental Approach to Standards Training

Mission: To improve computer science education in Colorado





Overview

CS-FAST is a curriculum developed specifically for Colorado elementary school teachers that offers a Fundamental Approach to Standards Training (FAST). This elementary school teacher training is being offered for free by Colorado School of Mines, thanks to a collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). Participating teachers also have the opportunity to receive a stipend (up to $150) from CDE. The Mines CS-FAST workshop focuses on:

  1. Learning and applying Computational Thinking.
  2. Introducing the Computer Science Teaching Association standards for each grade level.
  3. Providing experience in coding.

Computational Thinking embodies the process of solving a computational problem: from breaking down the problem into a way that can be solved efficiently with a computational system, to creating an effective decision from the results. To apply Computational Thinking is to think like a computer scientist.

Previous Feedback

In 2019, 297 elementary school teachers in Colorado participated in the training and almost every teacher responded that they would use the lessons they learned in their classroom. A few comments from teachers who attended CS-FAST in 2019 include: (1) The Activities 1, 2, and 3, CS Unplugged, were fantastic!, (2) The materials were organized in a manner that I could use immediately in my classroom. Thank you!, (3) It is easier than I thought to take a lesson deeper with computer science content., and (4) Lesson worked well and the students enjoyed them!

Objectives

  • Learn how to incorporate engaging computer science activities into your classroom with and without a computer.
  • Prepare your students to better solve computational problems.
  • Understand the computer science standards suggested nationwide for your grade level.
  • Recognize ways to implement CSTA and math/science standards simultaneously.

At the end of the workshop, teachers will have 4+ activities (mapped to standards) that they can deploy directly in their classroom (with confidence) for 5+ hours of computational fun for their students. CS@Mines students are also available to support teachers as they deploy these activities in the classroom!

Registration

Anyone district awarded funding by the Colorado Department of Education for CS-FAST should have received a registration link. If you were awarded funding and do not have this link, contact Tracy Camp at tcamp@mines.edu.


Grade Level Details

Activities will be separated by grade level. Click the grade level below to see a sample lesson.

Each activity is targeted towards one of the grade levels above. Teachers will be grouped by grade level, giving participants a chance to connect to other teachers and work through lessons they can use in their classrooms.


Standards

The CS-FAST workshop introduces sevaral educational standards for teaching computer science. These are adapted from the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). Each lesson has targeted standards that the students will learn via the activities.


CS Unplugged

CS Unplugged uses activities, games, magic tricks, and competitions to show children the kind of thinking expected of a computer scientist. CS Unplugged has been taken into multiple school districts around the world. Recent research has shown that teachers often feel more confident doing CS Unplugged activities with their students than coding activities.


Bitsbox

The CS-FAST workshop also includes an introductory programming segment using Bitsbox. Bitsbox is a fun and educational way for kids to learn programming; a brief introduction to Bitsbox will be provided.

  • K-2nd grade: hour of code that helps students understand the relationship between numbers and quantities.
  • 3rd-4th grade: hour of code allowing students to explore the diversity of life.
  • 5th-6th grade: hour of code that investigates fractions and multiplication.

Other Resources

Standards
Tips for teaching CS
Lessons