Why we should NOT teach Digital Literacy in Isolation: A STEM and Creative Computing Integrated Unit of Inquiry – Grade 3 and 4

STEM+C is the word coined by learning scientists around the world to advocate for curriculum designs that integrate the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics with Computing or ‘C’.

The underlying idea of STEM+C curricula is to empower students to look at the applications of computing and technology within the larger context and problems in other disciplines.

At D-Prep – we embrace this perspective – we do not believe in isolated teaching of ICT,

programming, or digital literacies. We strive, instead, to root the discovery of computing concepts in problems meaningful to the students as they engage in concepts of Science, Social Studies, Math, and Language Arts – just as students would in the world outside school.

The recent Grade ¾ Unit of Inquiry is an example of how we execute our STEM + C curricula. Students learned about rocks, how they come to be, and their lifecycle in their science unit of inquiry. They were then introduced to block-based

programming where they learned how to code sprites and characters. Finally, students were given the design challenge to turn the facts they learned about rocks into a compelling and interactive story using block-based coding.

What this experience enabled the children to do was to view programming/ computing as a tool that can be applied to multiple areas of interest – in this case, science! Watch this video to learn more:

Our current efforts are being put into weaving STEM+C experiences throughout all grade levels from K1 – Grade 5/6.

Keep watching this page for more updates on grade-wise STEM+C experiences.

Noora Nouhsad, PhD Learning Sciences & Technology, University of Pennsylvania

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