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Unplugged: Computer Science in the Early Grades

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Thursday, December 3, 2:00–2:50 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Katherine Livick  
Kristina Wambold  

Structured play can provide opportunities to lay a strong foundation in STEM skills that will be useful throughout a child's life. Explore ways to build cognitive, language and mathematical concepts through computer science. PK-2 educators will receive a foundational understanding of CS concepts to help facilitate unplugged coding activities.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: PK-2
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
Additional detail: Session recorded for video-on-demand
Related exhibitors:

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will explore structured play activities to build computational thinking and computer science concepts with young children.

Participants will create and adapt unplugged coding activities to meet individual student needs.

Participants will develop foundational computer science concepts.


Content and activities/times:

Computer Science Vocabulary, Pillars and Practices - 40 min
Unplugged coding activities - 1 hour 50 minutes (approximate) This is hands on and includes time to modify and adapt for specific context.
Review kindergarten readiness standards and relate to computer science concepts and standards - 30 min

Throughout the presentation, attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and consider how this model would fit into their context.

Supporting research

To provide a detailed, observation-based description of young children’s capacity to understanding computer programming and robotics concepts. We demonstrated that children could, given a developmentally-appropriate computer programming language, learn to program their own robotic artifacts and we discovered what are the concepts that are most difficult for them and how to teach them in a learning trajectory that would make the most sense. We also found that learning computer programming has a positive impact on sequencing skills in general

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Katherine Livick, ESD 112

Katherine Livick taught middle school for 15 years and also spent several years running the customer and internal training division for the country's largest Apple Specialist retail chain. She now develops curriculum for teacher professional development around technology and inclusive practices and acts as a project manager, coach, and consultant, helping teachers to integrate technology in school districts around ESD 112’s region. She's a certified Google Admin and Google for Education Trainer, and has quite a number of opinions about coffee, Star Trek, and plants.

Kristina Wambold, Educational Service District 112

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