Sixth Grade Computer Science
In sixth grade, students explore what it means to be effective users and creators of technology. As users of technology we practice what it means to be responsible digital citizens. As creators of technology we discover how to use computer science to express our ideas.
For many girls, their GMS laptop is the first piece of technology to take ownership of. With a “try it and see” attitude, students learn to use their laptops for school work, communication, organization, and entertainment. We start the conversation about what powers and what vulnerabilities we have as digital citizens, and how to take responsibility for them.
Through a series of projects, such as animating a scene and building a game, students develop a strong foundation in computational thinking skills and coding practices. Motivated by the desire to create more complex programs, they discover and practice the fundamental components of an algorithm, including triggers, variables, conditionals, and loops. In each project, we emphasize the iterative coding process of “design, code, test, repeat,” which encourages students to be creative, persistent, and open to new ideas.
Using LEGO Mindstorms, students explore the four essential features of a robot: sensing, movement, energy, and intelligence. They transfer their computational thinking and programming skills to this field; they program a robot to do a variety of tasks such as follow directions, navigate a maze, or draw a picture.