Constructor Lab
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Coding and the Next Generation Science Standards

Location: W194b

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYOD

Monday, June 25, 11:30 am–12:30 pm
Location: W194b

Katy Noelle Scott  
Experience learning activities that require students to use coding to build their understanding and demonstrate their mastery of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards. We'll focus on block-based programming that any student can learn and implement it within life science content.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: We will use web-based applications that utilize Flash, so participants need a laptop that can access the internet (preferably using Chrome). We will be using Scratch ( and StarLogo Nova ( Participants may want to create accounts on both sites before the session.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Computer science and computational thinking
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Computer science, Science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Computational Thinker
  • Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Teachers will experience how coding lessons can be strengthened when used within the context of science, and how science learning can be strengthened when demonstrated through coding.

Participants will:
- Use block-based coding to create biological simulations
- Iterate their models as their understanding grows

Success Indicators:
- Participants successfully create two biological simulations using block-based coding.


Participants will get hands-on practice using free web-based block-based programming tools like Scratch and StarLogo Nova, all within the context of the science classroom.

To begin, participants will be introduced to block-based programming, and will begin by using Scratch to build a model of how schooling fish respond to sensory stimuli.

Participants will then be challenged to use StarLogo Nova to create a model of a biological system (a sheephead community). They will then learn more information about the sheephead community, by interacting with 360 videos and data sets. They will iterate their model based on their new learning.

We'll discuss the power of using such tools to have students code models of biological interactions, and iterate those models as their understanding grows. We'll talk about the connections of these activities to both NGSS and the Computer Science Framework, and the strength of combining the two in service of one another.

Supporting research

The Next Generation Science Standards highlight the importance of Developing and Using Models for students:

There's lots of research on the importance of computer science in the classroom, much of which is highlighted by here:

More [+]


Katy Noelle Scott, Monterey Bay Aquarium

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