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Abstract Title: Computational Thinking for Physics: Programming Models of Physics Phenomenon in Elementary School
Abstract: Computational thinking is a key practice of science education, one rarely integrated into instruction in an authentic way.  A second key practice, creating models of physical phenomenon (e.g., momentum and acceleration), has been recognized as an important strategy for facilitating students' deeper understandings of both science concepts and the practices of science. We are creating an interdisciplinary computational thinking curriculum for grades 4-6 that identifies opportunities to combine development of computational thinking and programming skills with content in other disciplines such as science, math, and social studies.  Here we present an example project that can be used to iteratively develop a model that represents the momentum and acceleration of an object that align with physical observations, coupled with increasingly sophisticated computational thinking concepts to implement those models.  In addition, we present initial findings on students' perceptions of computation prior to formal instruction.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Hilary A. Dwyer
University of California - Santa Barbara
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
and Co-Presenter(s)
Bryce Boe, UCSB Department of Computer Science
Charlotte Hill, UCSB Department of Computer Science
Diana Franklin, UCSB Department of Computer Science
Danielle Harlow, UCSB Gevirtz Graduate School of Education