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General Topic List

The following are some broad topic areas that the UW CS4HS workshop has attempted to cover with some ideas of the specific sessions that could fit those categories. We make an attempt at explaining why certain topics or sessions are important and what their expected outcomes are. You should look at the previous session lists under the "resources" tag and for the latest materials, which could easily be adapted for a different workshop.

Interdisciplinary Computer Science: teachers are surprised and impressed to learn that computer science can be applied to a broad range of fields. This is important to emphasize so that all participants, whether they are biology or algebra teachers, have something to share with their students. It also encourages instructors to recommend computer science as a field of study to a broad range of students. These sessions should help dispel the myth that computer scientists do nothing but stare at code all day.
Examples: Computational Thinking: CS4HS workshops should convince teachers that computer science emphasizes creative problem solving. Most teachers don't have computers readily available and are not teaching programming so it is important to give them ideas on developing students' computational thinking skills without computers.
Examples: Programming: both students and teachers can benefit a great deal from understanding basic programming. CS4HS programming modules should demonstrate that programming is useful by focusing on examples applicable to some of the instructors' fields. There should also be a 'fun' element -- teamwork, little emphasis on pure syntax, and encouragement to experiment. The teachers should walk away understanding how powerful automizing certain tasks can be.
Examples: Pursuing an Interest in Computer Science: teachers want to know what can be done in the field and how to advise students who demonstrate an interest. It's important to show them that there are good jobs available in the sector and to explain what a computer science major generally entails.
Examples: Diversity: one of the workshop's goals is to get teachers to encourage ALL their students, no matter their gender, race, socioeconomic class, etc, to consider computer science for their future. It's important to be upfront about the current numbers in the field and why that might be bad all around. Ideas for maintaining diversity are relevant to math and science teachers.

Sample Modules

The following is a categorized list of all of the curriculum modules that we have brainstormed in the past. Feel free to pick a subset of these to create a workshop appropriate to your own audience. Please also refer to the past workshop resources linked from under the Resources link above.

Take-Home Modules
CS Unplugged
Introduce participants to the CS Unplugged material: give an overview of the Unplugged topics, walk them through one or more of the modules, and dicuss ways to integrate the concepts into an AP CS curriculum.
Food For Thought: Sorting Pancakes
Learn how to put sorting in terms of stacks of pancakes!
Food For Thought: Cutting Cake
Learn how to fairly divide a cake N ways without measuring!
Circuits Lab
Introduce participants to the basics of circuits and circuit logic. Let them create their own circuits and experiment.
CS Through Brainteasers
Give participants a taste of logical reasoning through the use of brainteasers. Many of these brainteasers are actual interview questions used by Microsoft to hire software developers!
Kinesthetic Learning of CS
Demonstrate CS principles in the classroom while getting up and moving! This uses Steve Wolfman's material.
Give participants an overview of Alan Kay's Smalltalk programming environment.
Teacher Enrichment Modules
Computational Thinking
Introduce the notion of computational thinking: that computer science gives us a way of approaching problems far beyond computer problems, and that everyone will benefit from the ability to approach problems this way. Jeannette Wing's material.
Cryptography Made Easy
Gives an overview of the history of cryptography and its basic principles. Emphasizes the connection between cryptography techniques and mathematics.
CS in the Economy
Pinpoint a few examples of computer science at work in the economy. For certain areas (e.g. Seattle) this can be done at a local level (e.g. Microsoft, Amazon, etc.) Show how CS influences the economy and by consequence local landscapes.
CS at _______
Show participants what is involved in the undergraduate CS curriculumm at your school, so they can give an informed view to their own students. Discuss the types of things that your institution's undergraduates have gone on to do.
Robotics in the Classroom
Discuss various small-scale educational robotics packages and give an overview of current robotics research.
Introduction To Programming
Gives a basic introduction to programming. Might use python, Dr. Java, Alice, etc. Targeted at those who have never programmed before.
Teaching Programming
Discusses how to effectively teach programming to students. Might cover such topics as recursion or inheritance with specific lesson ideas. Might also discuss how to create effective and accessible programming assigments.
Cross-Disciplinary Breakout
Teachers break out by subject area (biology, chemistry, etc.) and discuss ways to demonstrate to their students the overlap between their own subject and computer science
Wrapup Breakout
Near the end of the workshop, teachers break out into small groups to discuss concrete ways of integrating into their classrooms the things they have learned in the workshop (both concrete CS ideas and broader issues about accessibility, gender equity, etc.)
Book Discussion Breakout
This module requires that participants read a specified book prior to attending the workshop (a requirement that is good for fulfilling "outside-of-the-classroom" hours often required to get a course certified for University credit). Participants can all be asked to read the same book, or can choose from a small list, in which case the breakout should be done by choice of book. Possible books: Unlocking the Clubhouse (Margolis/Fisher), The Search (Battelle), The Turing Omnibus (Dewdney), I'm a Strange Loop (Hofstadter).
Diversity/Accessibility Modules
Careers Panel
3-5 "real world" computer scientists discuss their jobs: how they use computer science, what a typical day looks like, etc. The goal is to demonstrate that CS is used all over, and involves much more than programming.
Dispel various myths surrouding computer science: that it is nerdy, that it is just programming, that all of its jobs are being outsourced, that it requires the sacrifice of fun/family, etc.
Broadening Computer Science Participation
Discuss the issues that affect the levels of participation seen by various groups in computer science (women, minorities). Discuss efforts to equalize the levels of interest in and access to CS across these groups, from the k-12 level and up.
Site-Specific Modules
Robot Lab
Use LEGO(tm) Minstorm robots to introduce participants to basic programming concepts: command sequencing, branching, loops, etc. We also bring in and demo real robots being used in current research projects.
UW: Graphics demos
Demos of cutting-edge graphics research going on at the UW.
UW: Motion Capture Lab Tour
Tour and demo of the motion capture lab and its capabilities.
CMU: Human Computation
Overview of Luis Von Ahn's work on developing incentives (games!) for humans to do the work that computers are very bad at.