Middle School Computer Science
Explore, problem solve, and create.
In the Middle School Computer Science program, students develop habits of need finding and problem-solving. They are introduced to Computer Science as a way of thinking, relevant and applicable to a wide range of contexts. Through a problem-based curriculum, students explore the breadth of experiences and challenges that constitute Computer Science. Students learn by doing, constructing their understanding in collaboration with their peers. Each project is designed to be accessible at many levels, to accommodate students with prior experience, and students are encouraged to seek out the level that is appropriate for them. Projects are supplemented by discussions, simulations, logic puzzles, games, and other activities designed to help students hone the skills and strategies of Computer Science.
Please note: The Computer Science program was launched in the Menlo Middle School during the 2016-2017 school year. The courses will continue to evolve and the topics or tools listed below may fluctuate or shift over the first few years.
Computer Science 6
The goal of this course is to introduce students to the breadth of Computer Science. Topics covered include Algorithms & Programming, Networks & the Web, Computer Graphics, and Robotics & other Embedded Systems. Developmentally appropriate tools like Scratch (block-based programming) and TinkerCAD(3D design and printing) allow students to access and develop the core concepts and skills of Computer Science without being impeded by high levels of abstraction and syntax. Projects in this course emphasize the creativity inherent in Computer Science.
Computer Science 7
The seventh grade Computer Science course continues to build on the skills and experiences of the previous course. Students revisit the four realms of Computer Science explored in sixth grade (Algorithms & Programming, Networks & the Web, Computer Graphics, and Robotics & other Embedded Systems). In some areas students engage with the same tools at higher levels of complexity while in others they approach the topic from a new perspective, using the lens of a new tool. They begin to develop greater autonomy in their learning, through more open-ended projects. Students are asked to make connections to the big ideas and essential questions of other subjects and of their larger context as they find and solve problems.
Computer Science 8
In the eighth grade course, we engage with more abstract elements of Computer Science. Students move from a block-based to a text-based programming language (Python) and projects throughout the curriculum become more programming-dependent. Students are introduced to concepts like recursion and object-oriented programming. They continue to develop autonomy and are encouraged to seek out both the challenges and the support that will engender a meaningful learning experience. As they leave our program, we hope that students will have begun to develop identities as creators rather than consumers of technology, and that they will be ready and excited to further explore Computer Science in the ways that best suit each individual student.