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Edtech Advocacy &
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Computer Science Calisthenics: It's Time to Get Your Algorithm On!

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Wednesday, December 2, 3:00–4:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Michelle Ward  
During this presentation, you'll collaborate with teachers and combine your skill sets to create engaging and empowering PK-8 unplugged activities that combine CS and movement. These activities will incorporate basic and intermediate computer programming concepts and will provide ample opportunities for grade 6-8 PBL in CS-related topics.

Audience: Coaches, Professional developers, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: -- phone app or computer participation

Google Suite or Office 365

Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Computer science, Health and physical education
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
  • Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.
Related exhibitors:
, Kahoot! EDU, Inc.
, Nearpod/Renaissance
, Microsoft Corporation
, CodeMonkey Studios
, Unruly Studios
, Adobe
, GoGuardian + Pear Deck + Edulastic
, Popfizz Computer Science
, Epson America, Inc

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Is your state constantly adding more time to PE that results in less time for your classes?
Is your administrator getting creative about finding time for PE or time that counts toward PE?
Has the weather outside made it impossible to have recess?
Because of COVID, has your administration changed your classroom assignment to recess?
Is it difficult for you to find time to teach students about computer science?
Is it difficult for you to schedule the computer lab or equipment for your students to be able to code?
Are you finding it difficult to ensure CS Equity while teaching virtually?
Do your students crave to be challenged and learn something new and fun about computer science?
Has COVID destroyed your curriculum/plans for the 2020-21 school year?
Would you like to create unplugged Computer Science activities that connect CS with PE, CS with Music, CS with some other unconventional subject, CS as PBL?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then this presentation is for you. Last year, my state added another 30 minutes per week of PE to each grade level. I'm sure that other states across the U.S. are also doing the same thing. My class time remained the same, but other teachers across the nation may have not been as fortunate. (I won't even mention what COVID has done to my classes this year). I had this idea --“Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to combine Computer Science and Exercise together in one program.” So, that's how my idea for this presentation began. My idea, when finished, will be a combination of a Computer Science program/platform like CodeMonkey with another program that is like Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) or GoNoodle.

Research also shows that students better retain and understand the material when they are actively exercising during the delivery of the lesson (Jensen, 2005). "Sensorcises" by Laurie Glazener (Glazener, 2014) and "Smart Moves" and "The Dominance Factor" by Carla Hannaford (Hannaford, 2011, 2013) state that when students perform cross-laterals or cross-over exercises (patting your head while rubbing your belly), both hemispheres of the brain communicate with each other. An example of cross-laterals: ( ). The Committee on Physical Activity and Physical Education in the School Environment stated in 2013 that "available evidence suggests that mathematics and reading are the academic topics that are most influenced by physical activity" (Kohl & Cook, 2013). They also stated that "these topics depend on efficient and effective executive function, which has been linked to physical activity and physical fitness" (Kohl & Cook, 2013). The results from a review on the association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that "eight of the nine studies found positive associations between classroom-based physical activity and indicators of academic performance" (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). Scientists and researchers agree that there needs to be more testing and studies that focus on how exercising during the lesson delivery may or may not improve cognition and memory, as well as, academic performance (Kohl & Cook, 2013).

With this finished idea, the only equipment needed would be the teacher’s computer and a projector. During this presentation, teachers will be presented some of my ideas for future Computer Science projects. We will collaborate, brainstorm, and make Computer Science history.

I, alone, do not possess the skills nor time needed to make my idea into reality but involving other educators, professional developers, and students in the brainstorming, planning, designing, developing, testing, and implementing processes will make it possible.

Supporting research

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The association between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and academic performance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.

Glazener, L. (2014). Sensorcises: active enrichment for the out-of-step learner. New York: Skyhorse Publishing.

Hannaford, C. (2011). The dominance factor: how knowing your dominant eye, ear, brain, hand & foot can improve your learning. Salt Lake City: Great River Books.

Hannaford, C. (2013). Smart Moves Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head. Alexander: Great River Books.

Jensen, E. (2005). Teaching with the Brain in Mind (2nd ed.). Retrieved from

Kohl, H. W., & Cook, H. D. (2013). Educating the student body: taking physical activity and physical education to school. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

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Michelle Ward, Lake Road Elementary School

I have been a Computer Science advocate in my school district for about 10 years. I began my love of Computer Programming in 1977 with the Magnavox Odyessy game console and the Intro to Programming cartridge (Assembly language). I dabbled with BASIC in high school. In college, I was introduced to COBOL, FORTRAN, PASCAL, and my arch-nemesis ADA. During the last 10 years, I have learned how to program in HTML, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, & CoffeeScript, and I have shared this passion with my students. I am pushing CS4ALL in my K-8th school & all schools in my district.

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