Los Altos School District’s CSTEM program for 6th grade teaches Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects through the 3 C’s – Creativity, Collaboration and Computer Science.
  • Creativity:  Students will learn to demonstrate their creativity through technology by creating original video games that combine art and design with computer programming.
  • Collaboration: Students will work in teams to build projects and will share their work and collaborate online using tools such as Google docs and sites.
  • Computer Science: Students will be introduced to fundamental concepts of computer science and then apply these concepts to projects in science and math. They will learn the critical digital age skill of computational thinking through computer programming.

The CSTEM program has been funded by generous donations by parents to the

Los Altos Education Foundation


Why STEM? 

Why Computer Science? Why sixth grade?

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are considered the most critical academic disciplines for success in a 21st century workforce. President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” initiative has provided a sharp increase in the number of STEM education programs across the country.

Computer science combines the STEM subjects as well as teaches critical 21st century skills of problem solving and algorithmic thinking.  In today’s digital age, technology education must go beyond teaching the use of computer applications. It should also teach how to create computer tools, and this can be done through computer science education.

Research in STEM education shows that the middle school years are critical to ignite and retain interest in the STEM subjects. Since sixth grade is the key entry point into middle school, it is the best year to focus on STEM education.



Other STEM, Computer Science education resources.

STEM education

Computer Science education

Bringing creativity with the arts

What is Computational thinking?


Class Schedule for 2013 to 2014
  • Monday afternoon: Oak (3 classes)
  • Tuesday morning: Gardner Bullis  (2 classes)
  • Tuesday afternoon: Santa Rita  (3 classes)
  • Wednesday afternoon: Covington  (2 classes)
  • Wednesday afternoon: Loyola (3 classes)
  • Thursday afternoon: Almond  (3 classes)
  • Friday afternoon: Springer  (3 classes)

Homework/Grading Policy
  • There will be maximum 20 minutes assigned homework on 

    Edmodo 

    each week.
  • Non letter grading will be based on class participation and class projects.

Curriculum

The curriculum is based on ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS.S), the ACM K-12 Computer Science Model Curriculum (Level 1 recommendation for K-8), the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics for Grade 6, and the California Content standards in Visual arts for Grade 6 (art through technology section 2.6).  The curriculum includes:

  • Parts of a computer – understanding both hardware and software
  • Introduction to programming using Logo, Scratch and Processing
  • Creating art through computer programming
  • Designing and building a math and/or Science video game
  • Physical computing and robotics using Lego WeDo, MakeyMakey or Arduino, projects to be decided based on time available.
  • Using Edmodo and Google sites/ docs to share and collaborate online

Some Articles on CSTEM program
EdSurge, May 8, 2013

Building with Code 
Article on 6th graders using Processing  
(Written for my pledge for CSEd week Dec 9-15, 2012  )

Should Kids Learn to Code in Grade School
KQED MindShift, Sept 2012

See here for more articles 

Resources for CSTEM students

Processing : Sample projects and class demos of projects done using Processing and Javascript on the Khan Academy CS platform

What is computational thinking? More about programming and links to other programming resources

SketchUp : tool used to create room design projects as well as 3D model of computer motherboard

Scratch 2.0 : new version of MIT'S Scratch works in your browser

Some other places to learn and try out programming skills

This page is available as 

http://tinyurl.com/lasdcstem