Computer Science & Robotics
At a time when the place of computer technology in the modern world is rapidly evolving, the curriculum in Computer Science & Robotics fosters the technical proficiency that will enable our students to use and produce computer technology and its applications effectively. To this purpose, the sequence of skill-based courses is continuously adapted in accordance with current advances in technology. The primary focus of the curriculum, central to the pedagogy of our courses at all levels of instruction, remains the development of skills and habits of thought that will enable our students to apply computer technology in an effective, precise, and ethical manner.
Nursery and Kindergarten students are introduced to computer technology through Bee Bots, programmable insect-shaped floor robots. Students control their Bee Bots by taking simple programming steps, using directional language to create tasks and activities. In Kindergarten, students use computers and acquire basic navigational, operational, and creative skills. Teachers concurrently reinforce basic curricular elements such as letters, numbers, and mathematical concepts.
The Computer Science & Robotics curriculum in the Lower Division encompasses programming as well as a general range of topics related to use of the computer and the internet, including proper use of the computer technology and online resources that the School makes available to students for the purposes of research and collaboration. Topics include Internet safety, Web search and research techniques, as well as the use of Google Docs, the FirstClass email system, and the School’s databases. Students in fourth and fifth grade learn aspects of individual and collaborative block-based programming using the programming language Scratch.
In the Middle Division a three-year sequence in Robotics is focused on mechanical design, construction, programming, and the importance of cooperation and teamwork. The one-trimester courses also reinforce age-appropriate computer use, including skills mastery, and the responsible and ethical use of technology for interpersonal communication. Students learn to navigate and manage shared resources in a networked environment.
The Upper Division curriculum covers a broad range of elective courses on topics from media literacy, desktop publishing, HTML, and Java to advanced courses in Robotics, Computer Science, and web site management. All students complete a required half-credit course on principles of Computer Science or Microcontrollers and Robotics. Elective course offerings include Introduction to Computer Science, Computer Science 2, AP Computer Science, and Digital Publishing. Students will acquire the tools to design and construct media, analyze data structures, and produce web site content. The AP course prepares students for the current AP Computer Science exam. In addition, it covers the material equivalent to the college courses CS1 and CS2. The AP course uses the Java programming language and covers the study of algorithms and data structures including linked lists, sets, maps, queues, stacks, trees, and hash tables. The ethical use of technology and online privacy issues are addressed throughout the curriculum.