Bringing Computational Thinking to K-12
This paper describes the application of Computational Thinking in coding and robotics training sessions for the K-12 that are offered via the STEPP-UP project. The Science, Technology, and Engineering Preparatory Program for Under-Presented students (STEPP-UP) is designed to engage K-12 students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) course work while simultaneously participating in hands-on projects and activities. Total of 35 students participated in the STEPP-UP (Science, Technology, and Engineering Preparatory Program for Under-Presented students), for two years as Saturday camps. The STEPP-UP sessions were designed with Computational Thinking in mind to attract and engage K-12 students and expose them to computational thinking elements. The learning tools included Scratch, Java and Python for programming, and VEX robotics kits for engineering. The project included an assessment and evaluation to identify areas of improvement that would lower barriers to programming and engineering education for the K-12. Results encourage continuing and expanding the STEPP-UP to include higher computational thinking elements and larger number of programming concepts, considering human factors in computer science education.
Keywords - STEM, K-12, ARKANSAS, STEPP-UP, Coding, Robotics