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Computational Thinking in K-12 Schools Using Hands-on Activities

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Computational/CS Initiatives

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.317.1 - 23.317.12



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Paper Authors


Nikunja Swain P.E. South Carolina State University

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Dr. Swain is currently a professor at the South Carolina State University. Dr. Swain has 25+ years of experience as an engineer and educator. He has more than 50 publications in journals and conference proceedings, has procured research and development grants from the NSF, NASA, DOT, DOD, and DOE and reviewed number of books on computer related areas. He is also a reviewer for ACM Computing Reviews, IJAMT, CIT, ASEE, and other conferences and journals. He is a registered Professional Engineer in South Carolina and ETAC of ABET reviewer for Electrical Engineering Technology and Computer Engineering Technology.

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Wanda Moses South Carolina State University

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Wanda Moses is a Computer Science Instructor at South Carolina State University and a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Clemson University in Clemson, SC. She’s in the Human-Centered Computing Lab under the advisement of Dr. Juan E. Gilbert. Moses is a native of North Charleston, SC. She received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg and her master’s degree in Computer Science and Software Engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, AL. Her research interests include finding ways to use technology to assist minority women in making healthy lifestyle choices. She enjoys reading, traveling, attending cultural events and talking with elderly people.

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James Allen Anderson South Carolina State University


Cynthia T Davis SC State University

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Cynthia Davis earned her B.S. in Mathematics Education in 1979 from Benedict College at Columbia, South Carolina, and her M.S. in Computer Science in 1982 from Atlanta University at Atlanta, Ga. From 1992 to 1996, Davis took additional study in Mathematics from the University of South Carolina and from South Carolina State University in Orangeburg.
She has been an instructor of Computer Science at South Carolina State University since 1990. Prior to that, Davis was Assistant Professor of Computer Information Science and an Instructor of Computer Science at Morris College and Benedict College, respectively.
Her work, A Case Study of Urban Heat Islands in the Carolinas, was published in the Journal of Environmental Hazards in 2007.
Davis is a Recording Secretary with Kappa Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society, and a Member of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).

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Computational Thinking in K-12 Schools Using Hands-on ActivitiesIt is common knowledge that computing education lacks diversity and enrollments in computerscience have plummeted. Recent reports have shown that there is a lack of interest in computerscience in the K-12 level and number of incoming college freshmen specifying ComputerScience (CS) as a major has dropped 60% over the last 4 years. Top universities such asCarnegie Mellon, Rutgers, Stanford, and the University of California, Berkeley reportsignificantly fewer degrees awarded in Computer Science in recent years. The educators andadministrators are challenged to find ways to engage and promote success and retention ofstudents while maintaining standards in introductory computer science courses.One way to do this is through education and awareness about computational thinking in K-12curriculum and one such initiative is the STARS (Students & Technology in Academia, Research& Service) Student Leadership Corps (SLC). STARS SLC is a NSF funded initiative atUniversity of North Carolina at Charlotte with the primary objective of broadening participationin computing through best practices and community building. SC State is a participatinguniversity in this initiative. SC State’s STARS SLC is designed to increase awareness about computational thinking in K-12schools through hands on activities such as designing effective presentations, web design,robotics exercises, algorithmic thinking through the use of Flowchart software Raptor andnumber systems games. The hope is that these activities will enhance participation of women,under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities in computing discipline and hencemission of STARS Alliance. SC State’s STARS SLC aims to encourage and inform students atall levels on the various computing careers that are available to them.The objective of this paper is to share our STARS SLC outreach and other activities, its successand lessons learned with the engineering, science, and computing community.

Swain, N., & Moses, W., & Anderson, J. A., & Davis, C. T. (2013, June), Computational Thinking in K-12 Schools Using Hands-on Activities Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19331

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