Skip to main content

Welcome, the Hub connects all projects


Introducing the Computer Science Concept of Variables in Middle School Science Classrooms


"The K-12 Computer Science Framework has established that students should be learning about the computer science concept of variables as early as middle school, although the field has not yet determined how this and other related concepts should be introduced. Secondary school computer science curricula such as Exploring CS and AP CS Principles often teach the concept of variables in the context of algebra, which most students have already encountered in their mathematics courses. However, when strategizing how to introduce the concept at the middle school level, we confront the reality that many middle schoolers have not yet learned algebra. With that challenge in mind, this position paper makes a case for introducing the concept of variables in the context of middle school science. In addition to an analysis of existing curricula, the paper includes discussion of a day-long pilot study and the consequent teacher feedback that further supports the approach. The CS For All initiative has increased interest in bringing computer science to middle school classrooms; this paper makes an argument for doing so in a way that can benefit students' learning of both computer science and core science content."