Computer Science Curriculum Checklist for K-5 Schools

a boy and girl elementary students are sitting next to each other at a desk. They are working together on a class assignment using a laptop.

Do you ever wonder if your K-12 school offers the most up-to-date computer science (CS) curriculum? Computer science is continuously changing and schools can get overwhelmed trying to keep up. 

If you wonder where your school excels, and where it can improve its CS offerings, you have come to the right place. Skill Struck is a company that specializes in developing high-quality CS curriculum and platforms designed for K-12 schools to implement in their classrooms.

And we’ve created a checklist to help district administrators see how they are doing in regards to computer science. 

Download Your Computer Science Checklist here.

At Skill Struck, we segment students in K-5 and 6-12 buckets because kindergarteners learn very differently than 12th graders! We believe CS integrated into K-5 schools is essential to creating a successful 6-12 pathway. The checklist we created has a list for K-5 and 6-12 students. In this blog, we’re going to dive deeper into each of the items on the K-5 checklist. 

Item 01: CSTA Aligned Lesson Plans 📝

Structured lesson plans ensure that students receive a comprehensive and organized education in computer science. They also provide teachers with a clear roadmap, helping them cover all essential topics and skills. 

Additionally, being aligned to CSTA standards helps maintain consistency across different schools, ensuring that students have access to a standardized CS curriculum. This promotes fairness and equity in education. Adhering to the CSTA standards also ensures that students are adequately prepared for further CS education or careers, as these standards reflect industry best practices and current technological trends.

Item 02: Ongoing Digital Citizenship Learning 🖥️

Ongoing digital citizenship learning helps students develop essential skills for navigating the digital world responsibly. With the rise of technology, students need to understand the importance of online safety, privacy, and respectful online behavior. 

Digital citizenship teaches students to make informed decisions, protect their personal information, and engage in online communities positively. It promotes responsible digital interactions, critical thinking, and ethical behavior, preparing students to participate actively and responsibly in the digital age.

Item 03: Hands-On, Unplugged Activities 🧩

Hands-on, unplugged CS activities are important to have available for young learners and students new to CS. These activities provide an opportunity for students to learn by doing and engaging with the concepts tangibly. 

By stepping away from screens and devices, students can develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and creativity. These activities promote teamwork and collaboration, fostering a supportive learning environment. With hands-on experiences, students can grasp foundational CS concepts and apply them to real-world scenarios.

Item 04: Real-World Connections 🌎

Having real-world connections in your CS curriculum helps students understand the relevance and applicability of what they're learning. Students can see firsthand how CS concepts are applied in various fields by incorporating real-world examples, projects, and industry case studies. 

Real-world connections expose students to current industry practices, technologies, and challenges, preparing them for future careers in a rapidly evolving tech landscape.

Item 05: Block-Based and Text-Based Coding Experiences 👩‍💻

K-5 Schools must have CS curriculum that includes both block-based and text-based coding experiences. Block-based coding is incredibly helpful for K-2 coders because it provides a visual and intuitive way for them to understand programming concepts. 

When they drag-and-drop blocks to create code it fosters their logical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students, when ready, must be pushed to extend their learning to text-based coding, such as HTML, Python, or JavaScript. Text-based coding offers a more in-depth understanding of the underlying code structure. This enables students to develop critical coding skills, like debugging and syntax mastery. 

Item 06: JavaScript & HTML Language Learning 🖥️

Learning JavaScript and HTML in elementary school teaches students essential skills for creating interactive and dynamic websites. These languages introduce core programming concepts like variables, control structures, and functions. Learning HTML and JavaScript makes the transition to more complex languages smoother for students. 

Item 07: Challenges & Projects that Encourage Creativity ​​👩‍🎨

When students solve challenges and complete projects in their CS curriculum, it gives them a chance to practice the concepts they have just learned and solidify their comprehension. We have found that encouraging creativity in CS projects helps students develop a deeper understanding of coding concepts because they get to include their interests.

Item 08: Auto-Graded Quizzes, Challenges, & Projects ✍️

Having auto-graded quizzes, challenges, and projects in your school’s CS curriculum is crucial. It enables students to receive immediate feedback on their work, fostering a continuous learning process while saving teachers a lot of time as students can iterate and experiment without needing their teacher's constant input. 

Item 09: Robotics Experiences 🤖

Learning robotics allows students to gain hands-on experience applying coding and computational thinking concepts to real-world problems. This practical application reinforces their understanding of computer science concepts and promotes teamwork and collaboration, as students often work together to design, build, and program robots. Learning robotics is very exciting for students and it sparks their interest and enthusiasm in CS.

Item 10: Professional Development 👨‍🏫

CS professional development offers opportunities for teachers to stay updated on the latest industry trends, teaching methods, and tools. It enhances their knowledge and skills, allowing them to deliver high-quality CS education to students and fosters collaboration and networking among educators, creating an environment that promotes innovation and continuous improvement in CS education.

Skill Struck partners with K-12 school districts to provide all of the above CS curriculum needs and more. Print out Your Computer Science Checklist and if you find there are holes in your current curriculum offerings reach out to a Skill Struck representative and see how we can help improve the CS education offered at your school. 

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