In the Harpeth Hall Middle School, we believe in teaching computer science because it empowers our girls to solve current and future problems through perseverance, collaboration, and innovative solutions. Our students develop the tools needed to be productive digital citizens rather than passive users of technology. Further, we want students to recognize that computer programming has application throughout all studies and in their daily lives while allowing them to envision themselves as programmers. Below are some of the projects and courses that are the foundation of middle school coding.
In fifth and sixth grade, along with Hour of Code students do mini coding projects that demonstrate the multiple uses of coding across disciplines. In science class, a visiting Vanderbilt University computer scientist introduces Weather Code, a block based program that allows users to gather and analyze weather and satellite information across the region. In English and reading classes, students use SCRATCH to create a scene which includes dialogue and movement that reflects the behavior of a god or goddess.
The 7th grade Introduction to Coding course is designed to build a foundation of computational thinking. Through programming projects and unplugged activities, students explore the steps of computational thinking including decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithm design. Projects include exploring computer hardware, learning the history of the women ENIAC programmers, physical computing with Arduinos, and game design.
In 8th grade science, students build on their understanding of computational thinking from 7th grade coding class with more in-depth projects in their science class. Projects include learning to design apps with empathy in collaboration with 8th grade service learning projects and using CSS and HTML to code a website of their choice. Development of research skills, an understanding of copyright issues and digital literacy are all components of the website project.