In adherence to state law, Franklin Discovery Academy is committed to offering computer science curriculum access to all students.
Our goal is that our 6th graders graduate from Franklin Discovery Academy with well-rounded experience in all subject areas, and a self-confidence born from experience that if they try, experiment, and persevere, they can learn and excel in any field. This certainly prioritizes computer science so our students are prepared for the ever-changing professional landscape but even just for the next steps of education, where digital literacy is more important than ever.
There is much our existing program does for our students’ CS education: both to expose our students to computer science concepts and, to a greater degree, to give them room and materials with which to practice computer science. All 2nd-6th students have a 45 minute period for STEMRec every day. STEM Recreation is exactly what it sounds like, a playground of STEM games, kits, and activities for students to explore as they will. STEMRec includes an animal and insect garden and construction toys, as well as an Osmo iPad station for Blockly-style programming games and a Snap Circuit station to discover the components of computing systems. It also includes a project-based engineering area where students practice computational thinking and troubleshooting.
Although there are daily unchanging parts of a student’s schedule, the other half of their day is scheduled much like a middle or high school. Homeroom teachers work with every child to ensure they have at least one priority Engage class each term. Our school year is broken into sixteen terms that last about three weeks. Computer science will be one such Engage class, which means we will reach most if not all students, and each class should have CS at least twice in the year. The CS class uses Skill Struck to teach grade-level CS standards and beginning web development.
We also plan to have a LEGO Robotics Engage class available, which we usually offer most of the year. (In SY21 we were able to offer it half the year.) In LEGO Robotics, students create the physical and program design for their robots, and discuss the applications of robotics in our lives and society.
The Kindergarten and First grades have different schedules than the rest of the school, but our CS teacher will work with the K1 science and homeroom teachers to incorporate CS standards. School-wide, the IT department will teach homeroom teachers the CS standards and support them to integrate CS standards into their existing procedures and weekly activities.