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WCPS Department of Library Media Programs LibGuide: Computational Thinking

Main site for the Department of Library Media Programs

Coding, Robotics, and Computational Thinking

Coding, Robotics, Computational Thinking

Library Media

During the 2018-2019 school year, the library media department will be making a concerted effort to provide all WCPS students with coding, robotics and computational thinking opportunities.  For students in PK-5, this will occur as a part of their regularly scheduled library periods.  For middle and high school students, it will occur as a part of and integrated, enrichment or club-based opportunity. 

Seven Steps of Computational Thinking


7 Steps of Computational Thinking

Collect Data:
Determine sources from which you will collect data, and decide which qualitative and quantitative data to collect.

Analyze Data
Produce and evaluate charts, and use appropriate statistical methods to test a hypothesis.

Find Patterns
Identify patterns to make predictions, create rules and solve other problems.

Decompose Problems
Take large complicated problems, and break them down into manageable pieces.

Identify similarities and remove details to create a solution that works for many different problems.

Build Models
Test, tweak and refine an object before building it in real life using design software to predict outcomes.

Develop Algorithms
Create solutions using step-by-step instructions that operate like a road map for performing a task.

Computational Thinking Definition

What is computational thinking?

Computational thinking is a structured way to solve problems. As described by Jeannette Wing, PhD, in 2006, computational thinking has these qualities:

  • Conceptualizing, not programming — Basically, computer science is NOT computer programming. Coding is simply one expression, and a limited one, of computer science concepts and problems.
  • Fundamental, not a rote skill — A rote skill is mechanical, something repeated over and over. Computers are brilliant at rote tasks. A fundamental skill is a skill every person needs to know (or should know) to participate in society.
  • A way that humans, not computers, think — This is perhaps the neatest insight about computational thinking: it’s a way human beings think about the world and its problems and how we might solve those problems. Computers, in contrast, are more rigid and limited. Humans are clever and daring.
  • Complements and combines mathematical and engineering thinking — Computational thinking includes math and engineering. It’s not a subset of either discipline. Computer scientists leverage math and engineering to develop solutions that may go beyond the limits of either way of thinking.
  • Ideas, not artifacts — Computational thinking is not about output, a smartphone or the Watson computer. It’s the ideas that inform our technology and lead to their creation.
  • For everyone, everywhere — Computational thinking is available to all people, whether they use technology or not, whether their solutions require technology or not.

Computational Thinking: Key Concepts

Computational Thinking Resources