Encourage students to think about what a computer is by using the phrasing "What different Computers do you see" for the first ECS journal question in Unit 1, days 1-2.

  • Get students to think critically about the definition of computers, and to contemplate the ways they interact with different types of computers each day.
  • Changing the question for the first ECS journal activity shifts the focus to inquiry, encouraging debate and open-ended discussions.
  • Change the question “How many computers are in the room?” to “What different computers do you see?”
Additional Activities:
  • Pro Tip by Mark Folger from ECS forum on Code.org - Have students rate items as “Definitely Computers,” “Maybe Computers,” and “Not Computers.”
    • Give each student 15 post-it notes, 5 post-its for “Definitely Computers,” 5 post-its for “Maybe Computers,” and 5 post-its for “Not Computers.”
      • Setup category spaces on the board at the front of the classroom for students to place their post-its.
    • As students bring their post-its to the board, discuss and debate whether the class agrees or disagrees with the post-its and why.
    • Alternate Option: Split the classroom in groups of 4 and have the small groups place the post-its on their own categorized board and discuss their choices with each other. Then have the groups report out to the classroom.
  • Pro Tip by Steve Schulz from ECS Forum on Code.org - Ask students as a class to "List all of the computers you’ve seen in the last 24 hours (not counting the desktops in your classroom)."
    • Have the students take turns adding items to a list of computers on the whiteboard.
    • As a class, discuss possible definitions for a computer that emphasize input, process, and output
  • Pro Tip by Jennifer Bearce from ECS Forum on Code.org - Have small teams of students sort items that are and are not computers into a chart, then have a class discussion comparing answers.
    • Split the class into teams of 4 - 6. Provide each team with cards that contain pictures or names of items on them, some of the items are considered computers and others are not.
    • Each team sorts the cards into a chart or Venn Diagram (left circle is "YES it is a computer", right circle is "NO it is not a computer," and the overlapping area is for the "MAYBE" category for when they aren't sure if it is or isn’t a computer).
    • Teams share out their results and defend their reasoning over conflicting answers.
Additional Resources suggested by CS10K Curated Content by John Landa: