Texas Tech University, Department of Computer Science
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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Past Participation Dawn M. Bullock

Dawn M. Bullock


Middle School Adventures in Computational Thinking


Computational thinking is foundational, and has been described as representing a broad spectrum of reasoning across disciplines. At the very least, teaching middle school students how to solve problems using computational thinking can help them be successful by giving them a tool and the confidence to use it. This kind of success in middle school will allow them to dream big dreams for their future. Students learn more and retain what they learn if they learn by doing, and then teach others what they learn. Active learning exercises that develop this vital problem solving skill, while exposing students to the truths of computer science has the potential to create a shift in the current paradigm. This research project will explore what has already been done to reach middle school students and affect their understanding of computing and develop computational thinking. Active learning exercises will be developed that will introduce and develop computational thinking. Students will then use and further develop computational thinking as they participate in a design project using a programming environment. The activities compiled in this research project will be added to the research results of others in the same project as a means of understanding and developing computational thinking and advancing the career field of computing.