Computer Scientists, Elementary Style

When you think of a computer scientist what image comes to mind? Do you picture someone super smart? A bit geeky?  Male or female? Happy or serious? See what our Kindergarten through fifth graders thought!

Adjectives Describing Computer Scientists by Students in Grades 2-5

Little Learners

Move the Flurb Course 1 Activity

In December after Hour of Code Coonley coding classes began.  As participants in CPS' CS4All pilot program I co-teach's curriculum to our K-5 students (grades 6-8 are incorporated into existing science and math classes).  There are two courses for beginners; course 1 for Kindergarten & 1st grade students and course 2 for students in grades 2-5.  Both courses begin with "unplugged" activities (offline). Course 1 for our little learners began with some basic directional activities where students cut and pasted cardinal directions to "Move the Flurb" to a piece of fruit.  Since our little learners had already participated in the Hour of Code I found these lessons to be far too simple- students played Kodable which already put their skill level past this point.  We completed the activity as a review but then allowed students to participate in other activities which included creating their own computer game and drawing a computer scientist.  Here's a sampling:

1st grade game design
Kindergarten computer scientist

At Least They Are *Mostly* Happy

Course 2 begins much the same way with an unplugged activity for the kickoff to the program.  My friend Roxanne who is also teaching the curriculum posted some pictures of something that caught my attention: students' visions of computer scientists.  I thought this was a much better way to kick off the program- to ask students what a computer scientist looks like!  We discussed the various jobs computer scientists have and created lists of adjectives to describe them.  Students then had an opportunity to draw their own images which were shared via document cameras and gallery walks.

Looking through the pictures I was curious to see how many students drew their computer scientists as males, females, as happy, serious (or even angry!).  There were 384 students that participated. Below is how the numbers fell, along with some fantastic (and funny) examples!

Male= 58% of pictures drawn
Female= 35%
(7% weren't distinct enough to label)

Happy= 79%
Serious/Persistent= 19%
Sad or Mad= 6%

Computer Scientists Have Cool Names

Dr. Bob Chumsworth
Dr. Maniac
Professor Smart Guy

Sometimes Computer Scientists Get Frustrated!

Angry Bob
Angry Girl
Angry Maddy

Computer Scientists are Team Players


Sometimes Computer Scientists have a Different Point of View

One of my favorites- this 5th grader drew herself behind the scenes
programming a hospital patient's medical equipment!

Finally.....Some Computer Scientists Need Diets



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