Asee peer logo

Work-in-Progress: Incorporating Computational Thinking Instruction into K-12 Using 3D Weather

Download Paper |

Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computers in Education 1 - Programming 1

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38216

Download Count

120

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Pat Ko Mississippi State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-4732-2790

visit author page

Pat Ko is a post-doctoral associate at Mississippi State University. His interests include computer science education, computational thinking, K-12 engineering programs, and educational robotics.

visit author page

biography

Mahnas Jean Mohammadi-Aragh Mississippi State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-3094-3734

visit author page

Dr. M. Jean Mohammadi-Aragh is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Mississippi State University. Dr. Mohammadi-Aragh investigates the use of digital systems to measure and support engineering education. Current projects include leveraging writing to support programming skill development, using 3D weather visualizations to develop computational thinking skills for K-12 students, and exploring how instructors impact attention in large, computer-infused lectures. Dr. Mohammadi-Aragh also investigates fundamental questions about community, identity, messaging, and diversity, which are all critical to improving undergraduate engineering degree pathways.

visit author page

biography

Jonathan G. Harris Northern Gulf Institute

visit author page

Jonathan Harris is a marine geophysicist and Director of Education & Outreach for the Northern Gulf Institute. Harris is a Mississippi licensed STEAM educator who creates and implements marine, earth, atmospheric, and environmental science-related curriculum for students, educators, and the public throughout the Gulf region, using NGI’s high-performance computing capabilities, autonomous aircraft, and surface vessels, and other marine resources. Harris also provides marine operations and logistical support for the offshore research operations conducted by the NGI for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as for research conducted by and for the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies (RESTORE) Act, and the Mississippi Based RESTORE Act Center of Excellence (MBRACE).

visit author page

biography

Jamie Lee Dyer Mississippi State University

visit author page

Dr. Jamie Dyer is a Professor of Meteorology and Climatology in the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University. His research focus areas are in numerical weather prediction, surface-atmosphere interactions, hydrometeorology, and data visualization. Dr. Dyer is currently working on projects involving 3D visualization and analysis of weather model data, applications of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in flood visualization and analysis, and the investigation of using coupled atmospheric, hydrologic, and land surface models for water prediction across multiple spatial and temporal scales. With a research and teaching background in topics ranging from physics to data science to surface hydrology, Dr. Dyer’s work has a strong focus on transdisciplinary approaches to scientific problem solving and education.

visit author page

biography

Yan Sun Mississippi State University

visit author page

Dr. Yan Sun is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development, Mississippi State University. She received her Ph.D. degree in Learning, Design, & Technology from Purdue University and completed her post-doctoral research work at Texas A&M University. Dr. Sun’s research revolves around the area where STEM education intersects with technology. She has expertise in quantitative and mixed-methods research and has been applying quantitative and mixed-methods methodologies in her research on innovative technology-integrated STEM education projects and interventions.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Computational thinking refers to a set of skills necessary to conceptualize data and solve problems with a computer. While rooted in computer science, the skills are general enough to be useful to all professionals in design and problem-solving fields, including engineering. The Next Generation Science Standards (Achieve, 2013) promote developing computational thinking in K-12 students by integrating the skills into the context of other science instruction. However, there are barriers to implementation, including that current K-12 science teachers have not been trained in computational thinking and few tools exist to support teachers who want to integrate computational thinking into classroom learning.

The NSF-funded 3D Weather Analysis and Visualization (3D Weather) project is creating a contextual framework to support the integration of computational thinking into 7th-12th grade science classes. The 3D Weather project is supporting teachers who are teaching basic meteorology concepts in order to engage their students in the analysis of real weather data visualized in three dimensions. The focus of the project is on providing the professional development that science teachers need in order to write lessons that motivate student learning of and practice with computational thinking. Current 3D Weather professional development includes guidance for computational thinking principles, instruction for downloading and analyzing real weather data, training for visualizing weather data in 3D using existing tools, and support for how to integrate computational thinking into K-12 classrooms. Meteorology was chosen as the context for the computational thinking instruction because it is a science phenomenon that is universally familiar to all: everyone has some experience with weather. The computational thinking skills taught through the 3D Weather project include understanding and manipulating complex three-dimensional data through visualization, and the relationship between input variables and outcomes.

The inaugural year of the grant was in 2020, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, planned activities were modified and scaled back. Originally scheduled as a one-week online followed by one-week face-to-face training, the project delivered an entirely online pilot version of the two-week professional development in July 2020. Participants included four middle school science teachers. The training consisted of two content modules that covered how weather is affected by 1) temperature and 2) pressure and wind. The professional development included additional modules detailing how to install, navigate, and use Integrated Data Viewer (IDV), a free 3D visualization tool which was designed to be used with geoscience data (Unidata Program Center/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 2020). Videos lectures on weather and IDV were made available to the teachers in the form of voice-over PowerPoint slides. In addition, multiple group video conference calls were scheduled with the teachers so that they could ask questions of and provide feedback to the project staff. Survey and interview data were collected from the teachers and will be used to improve future offerings of the training.

In this Work-in-Progress paper, we briefly discuss the motivation for the 3D Weather Analysis and Visualization project, the design of the initial professional development activities, and the top “lessons learned” from our first professional development offering. This paper will be of interest to computing professionals who want to help teachers incorporate computational thinking into K-12 classrooms and to those offering professional development that requires teachers to learn a new computing tool.

References Achieve. (2013). Next Generation Science Standards. Achieve, Inc. https://www.nextgenscience.org Unidata Program Center/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. (2020). Unidata’s Integrated Data Viewer. https://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/idv/docs/userguide/index.html

Ko, P., & Mohammadi-Aragh, M. J., & Harris, J. G., & Dyer, J. L., & Sun, Y. (2021, July), Work-in-Progress: Incorporating Computational Thinking Instruction into K-12 Using 3D Weather Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38216

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: © 2021 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