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Designing and Implementing Sensor-Based Science Units That Incorporate Computational Thinking

Tue, April 9, 8:00 to 9:30am, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Floor: 200 Level, Room 205A


Integrating computational thinking into science and STEM courses increases students’ exposure to these critical ideas and practices. Using low-cost, widely available sensor technologies can support this integration, allowing for meaningful scientific investigations grounded in students’ everyday environment. Four middle school teachers collaborated with our research team to design, plan, enact, and reflect on a one-week unit where students used sensors to investigate the conditions for mold growth within their school. We compared two teachers’ implementation of this unit focusing on their design choices related to computational thinking and students’ perceptions of their experiences. The teachers emphasized somewhat different computational thinking practices, however both incorporated place-based elements, which may have led students to perceive the overall design as engaging and relevant.