Computational Thinking

ThinkLikeAComputerScientistScreenGrab Computational Thinking (CT) is an intellectual skill rooted in the ability to conceive of meaningful, information-based representations that can be effectively manipulated by an automated agent (e.g. a computer) (Kafura, Bart, and Chowdhary, 2015).

CT needs to be integrated into core science instruction because:

  • There is no room in the K-12 curriculum to teach it directly to everyone
  • The nature of routine scientific practice is changing to incorporate CT practices
  • Integrating CT into core science provides a synergistic opportunity to deepen instruction in both

In Chem+C application, when a student examines a visual, runnable model, makes a prediction, changes the code, and then runs the model again, the computer itself provides feedback (via whether the program runs and does the right thing) that demands a kind of explanation. The processes of anticipating, interpreting, and testing the computer’s feedback dovetail with and benefit from structured argumentation processes but are grounded in the idea that the child can and should act as a scientist in exploration of the computational and physical world.