Asee peer logo

Innovative Activities to Teach Computer Science Concepts Inside the Classroom and at Outreach Events

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Emerging Computing and Information Technologies II

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Stephany Coffman-Wolph West Virginia University Institute of Technology

visit author page

Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph is an Assistant Professor at West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems. She is a founding member of AWESOME (Association for Women Engineers, Scientists, Or Mathematician Empowerment) at WVU Tech and currently serves as a co-Advisor of the student organization. Other research interests include: Artificial Intelligence, Fuzzy Logic, Game Theory, and Software Engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Innovative Activities to Teach Computer Science Concepts Inside the Classroom and at Outreach Events Teaching an introductory course in computer programming can be challenging. Additionally, introducing grade school, middle school, and high school students to computer science without a computer lab seems impossible. The activities presented in this paper do not require a computer lab and can be done with a range of age groups, number of people, and prior computer experience. The goal is to introduce various topics using fun physical activity and everyday experiences that are familiar. Most young kids and even some college students seem to be unaware of what being in computer science means. These activities help them understand the depth and diversity a computer science undergraduate degree can curtail.

The paper will provide the details for each of these activities and the learning objectives. The activities included are: (1) Binary, Octal, and Hexadecimal Initial Key chains (2) Understanding Variables and Arrays with Paper Bags (3) Branching and Looping Statements with Starburst Candies (4) General Class Structure with Bags, Boxes, and a Bin (5) Dr. Doolittle’s Vet Office: Learning Classes with Stuffed Animals (6) Arrays with Tissue Boxes, DVD Sets, Paper Plates, and other Household Goods (7) Basic Networking, Message Passing, and Security with Party Hats and Candy

Coffman-Wolph, S. (2016, June), Innovative Activities to Teach Computer Science Concepts Inside the Classroom and at Outreach Events Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25715

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015