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 is now in it's 4th year.
A BIG thank you to the students, teachers and parents
who have helped improve and enhance it each year.

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 and Computer Science education.


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

This page is available as 


Homework/Grading Policy

  • There will be maximum 15 minutes assigned homework


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

Class Schedule for 2015 to 2016
  • Monday afternoon: Oak (3 classes)
  • Tuesday morning: Santa Rita  (3 classes)
  • Tuesday afternoon: Gardner Bullis  (2 classes
  • Wednesday morning: Covington  (3 classes)
  • Wednesday afternoon: Loyola (4 classes)
  • Thursday afternoon: Almond  (3 classes)
  • Friday afternoon: Springer  (3 classes)


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 – introduction to computer hardware.
  • Introduction to algorithms.
  • Block based programming using Scratch.
  • Text based programming using Processing.js and JavaScript.
  • Create art and animations through computer programming
  • Designing and building original games.
  • Physical computing using Arduino. Learning to build circuits using breadboards and control LEDs and buzzers with code.
  • Introduction to other programming tools based on time available.
  • Using various online tools 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