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We have many sessions for high school CS teachers during CSTA 2024; but if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, fret not! CSTA is here to help with recommended sessions for high school computer science teachers.

Unplugging AP Computer Science A

Presented by Laura Gray and Julia Rachkovskiy

July 16, 2024, from 9 a.m. to noon PT

*This session is a pre-conference workshop and can be added to your registration for an additional charge

Want to increase student engagement in your AP CS A class? Designed to help educators revitalize their teaching and rekindle student enthusiasm, this session unveils a spectrum of collaborative, unplugged, interactive lesson plans. Unplugging the learning creates more equitable opportunities for students who lack consistent access to technology, provides diverse representation of the material, and allows for students to dive deeper into conceptual learning.

In this session, we’ll introduce activities like escape rooms, murder mysteries, inquiry-based learning, PRIMM models, Parsons problems, One-Line-at-a-Time, scavenger hunts, task cards, and more. Participants will experience live demos and create their own unplugged activities in collaborative teams. You’ll leave with a toolkit of captivating lessons and strategies to transform your classroom into an engaging learning environment.

Data Dunkers

Presented by Matthew Griffin

July 17, 2024, from 9:40-10 a.m. PT

Data Dunkers is an innovative basketball and data science learning experience that uses basketball statistics to teach foundational data science skills to students in grades 5–12. In this session, participants will be introduced to this program’s learning activities, which encourage students to find meaning in data using open data from the NBA and WNBA. Students define a question, collect and analyze data, and effectively communicate results. The unit also serves as a launchpad for global competencies, such as critical thinking and problem solving, and for discovering data science career pathways.

Escape Rooms for CS Classrooms

Presented by John Dutton

July 17, 2024, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. PT

This session presents a new, more engaging summative assessment for computer science students in middle and high school. The assessment consists of a teacher-designed “Escape Room” that requires students to solve a number of puzzles in 45 minutes or less. To solve the puzzles, students must use the coding skills they have learned. The solution to each puzzle offers hints and codes to lead students to the next set of puzzles.

We’ll explore the materials for several full escape rooms, discuss lessons learned from the implementation of this assessment, and brainstorm general strategies for creating puzzles on your own. Attendees will have the opportunity to decode some of the puzzles for themselves!

Beyond Cardboard Engineering: Simple Machines with a Robotic Twist

Presented by Sarah FitzHenry

July 19, 2024, from 9-10 a.m. PT

Explore mechanisms, simple machines, and other engineering components with materials you can find in your recycling bin! In this hands-on session, we’ll explore components that can take your students’ cardboard creations to the next level. We’ll start simple, with attachment techniques like flanges and inserts, then build up to more complex additions like winches and cable systems. Once we’ve got our building technique down, we’ll animate them with robotic components like LEDs, rotation servos, and position servos. Learn to program your creations in a block-based programming language, and discover free resources to bring it all back to your classroom.

Beginners are welcome; no building or programming experience necessary. Just bring your curiosity, and we’ll handle the rest. Let’s get building!

90 Minutes Ahead: Teaching CS While Learning CS

Presented by Amy Cheek

July 19, 2024, from 10:30-10:50 a.m. PT

In a perfect world, teachers would receive all the training and education they need before ever setting foot in the classroom. But educators know from experience that this is not always the case. As the demand for CS education grows, teachers without a CS background may be asked to teach IT- and computer-related content well outside their field of expertise. This session will explore the skills that new-to-CS teachers need, then discuss the many resources available to help such teachers stay ahead of the learning curve and provide the best possible education to their students.

Register for CSTA 2024

Be sure to head to the full conference program to read more about these recommendations and plan which sessions you want to attend. If you haven’t registered for the annual conference yet, head to the CSTA 2024 website to secure your spot. We are excited to see you there!