Teachers have enough to cover without adding computer programming to the list. Our goal is to use computer programming as a tool to address course content - the coding is secondary. You won’t see loops and conditionals taught explicitly, but that has allowed non-CS-fluent teachers to give their students meaningful exposure to programming. Embedding coding into core courses increases equity and access, regardless of a student’s background or family income. That’s why our activities are aimed at content area teachers. They’re mostly science, but you can send suggestions or contribute an activity you wrote by emailing email@example.com.
- bridge the gap between drag-and-drop coding games (like the wonderful work of CODE.org and Scratch) and traditional Intro to Computer Science courses that teach programming from a blank terminal
- use pro-level software and languages so students can continue to build upon their experiences through college and career
- increase equity and access by reaching students through core courses with activities designed that teach science first, with coding as a tool
- make it easy to implement by using intuitive, free software and fully editable activities designed for teachers with no prior coding experience
- develop data science activities that put research data into students’ hands and compliment the wealth of existing resources on simulation and animation, like the great stuff at ComPADRE using vPython and Glowscript
It began with a conversation between Particle Physicist Sergei Gleyzer and Physics teacher Adam LaMee. That led to a US-CMS mini-grant to fund Project CODER, a pair of workshops in the summer of 2016 hosted by the physics departments at UCF and UF to expose middle and high school teachers to CMS OpenData and Jupyter notebooks.
By 2017, Adam was leading a staff of undergraduates and classroom teachers developing activities for students in Seminole County, one of Florida’s science leaders. We also developed activities on particle physics which have become staples for the Quarknet program’s residential teacher workshop, Data Camp, held at Fermilab each summer. That was soon followed by an announcement from the nation’s 9th largest school district with over 13,000 students per grade level:
“… students will gain meaningful exposure to coding in the Python programming language through traditional science instruction.” - Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools, FL
☝ That was us. We started with five activities for each 6th grade science class districtwide, then again for 7th grade the next year. COVID-19 put us on pause, but we’re looking forward continuing with grades 8-12. Those students will have a competitive advantage over their peers when applying for skilled labor jobs, trade school, and university admissions. Want to do the same in your area? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam LaMee is the project lead and developed most of our activities. He’s a physics educator with decades of experience in curriculum development, assessment research, and data science who helped create Florida’s secondary course descriptions and teacher certification exams. He’s currently a Quarknet Teaching and Learning Fellow and the PhysTEC Teacher-in-Residence at the University of Central Florida.
Public scientific data couldn’t make it into our activities without staff to scour the web for it, then cleanse, reformat, document, cite, and finally organize it into a Juypter notebook accessible to the target student audience. Much of that was done by students at the University of Central Florida, either volunteering or paid by area school districts to help create activities for specific standards. Huge thanks to Megan Cox, Abryana Fergus, Kaitlyn Fisher, Lissa Galguera, Lauren Gandy, Samantha Marginean, Allison Mignardi, Steven Nguyen, Andrew Pepper, James D. Rivers, Paola Santiago-Crespo, Zacchaeus Scheffer, Dylan Skelly, Hunter T., Mitchell Todd, Tyler Townsend, and Carolynn Turneur. Quarknet high school teachers Peter Apps (York Middle/High School, NY) and Jeremy Smith (Herford, MD) and UCF CS grad Michael Smith also contributed by developing and improving upon several activities.
A critical part of the project’s success has been the interest from school district science supervisors. The amazing Rachel Hallett-Njuguna and Rebecca Ray recognized the unique potential for preparing all students for careers in STEM, regardless of gender, background, or family income, and chose to make it a priority. They’re joined by hundreds of middle and high school teachers who have done the real work of adapting and implementing these activities with the next generation of computationally literate citizens and scientists.
Our activities are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. In short, these resources are free to use and modify provided you give credit, like what you see in the footer of each notebook. Read the full legalese here. The data sets in the activities aren’t ours and are credited, by use.
If you’d like activities tailored to your needs or you’re interested in commercial or proprietary use, we’ll be happy to develop resources for your organization. Send inquiries to email@example.com.