Posted by CSTA Conference Committee on Apr 15, 2021
6-8 Sessions recommendations
Here are some suggestions from the 6-8th Grade Committee. 

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With more than 100 sessions to choose from, we know that planning for the CSTA 2021 Conference might feel a little overwhelming. To help you navigate, the CSTA Conference Committee has provided their recommendations for presentations you can’t miss to help get you started. Here are some suggestions from the 6-8th Grade Committee.

Making Learning Meaningful: The Student-Led Classroom 

Session presented by Jennifer Manly 
In this session, participants will learn tangible tools and strategies to help transform their computer science classrooms into places where students do work that matters to THEM right now. Through classroom management methods that empower student coaching and collaboration, assessment tools that amplify and inspire creativity, tips for building student tenacity, and strategies to manage 100+ unique projects all at once without losing your mind, teachers will leave this session ready to transform their classroom from student-centered to student-led. Jen has presented some of our top-rated sessions over the last few years, so you don’t want to miss her presentation!

Strategies to increase equity in K-8 CS education 

Session presented by Kim Wilkens and Jennifer Chiu 

During this session, we will share strategies to increase equity in CS through a series of interactive activities. We will also share examples of K-8 CS-infused lessons that incorporate these strategies and are available as open education resources (OERs). If you are new to CS education, we hope this session can help set the stage for your success and if you are already a CS champion in your classroom or school, we hope our session will give you more fuel for your passion and resources you can share with others.

Unplugged AI Games for Middle School Integration 

Session presented by Charlotte Dungan 
Include artificial intelligence in your language arts, social studies, math, and science classes! This session will introduce games and activities that don’t require a computer to teach fundamental AI concepts alongside your standards-based instruction. Examples include using the Guess Who board game in social studies to discuss civil rights with algorithmic principles and using a science-fiction game in language arts to consider, “What is alive?” This session will be hands-on for participants and is geared toward middle school educators, though activities may be modified for upper elementary or early high school. Free printable resources will be provided.

Retrocomputers in Education – an Experience Report

Mini session presented by David Bock 

Whatever the reason, retrocomputers have an approachability you can’t find in a modern computer; even a Raspberry Pi. We’ve taught students the basics of computation, the fundamentals of computer architecture, z80 assembly language, binary, and fundamentals of circuitry. There are modern kits built around the 1970’s and 80’s era Z80 and 6502 – the same processors used in the TRS-80, the Commodore 64, and the Apple. They can be soldered together in a few hours and can be used to teach really advanced topics in electronics and theory of computation. You can get into the logic between the chips, and understand things at a visceral level that isn’t possible with modern hardware, yet the lessons apply. We’d like to show you this landscape and perhaps inspire you to let your students do a little bit of hardware hacking.

Cross-Curriculum Cultural Quilts

Workshop presented by Fernando Alegre, Juana Moreno, and John Underwood 
This workshop blends geometry, the natural sciences, social sciences, America’s cultural background, and history into a fun project that allows students to explore and to develop some great skills which will be useful in many different disciplines. This engaging activity can be adapted to multiple computing languages or APIs. 
To view all of our 6-8 sessions at the conference, head our agenda page to filter down our program by either grade band, or grade band and topic. We cannot wait to connect with you during these sessions and more during CSTA 2021! If you haven’t yet registered, head over to the CSTA 2021 website, and secure your spot!