ISU Computer Science Outreach

Computational thinking is a critical thinking skill that, according to some, is a required skill for success in the 21st century. This article from Jeanette Wing of Carnegie Mellon University describes what computational thinking encompasses. For most students, exposure to computational thinking as a problem solving tool comes late, or not at all. Since Fall 2010, the ISU Computer Science Department has been making efforts to change this in Iowa K-12 schools with a series of events and workshops designed to help K-12 educators, parents and students learn about computational thinking. Click the links below to learn more about our programs


Adventure into Computing Workshops

Held in the Pearson Hall Computer Labs on campus, the free Workshops offer children an opportunity to learn basic computing concepts and programming techniques, and to have fun with hands-on activities. Parents and teachers are encouranged to participate!

Register early at https://www.cs.iastate.edu/computational-thinking-workshop-registration


Still have questions? Email us at allscience@iastate.edu

K-12 Computational Thinking Faculty:  Wallapak Tavanapong, Soma Chaudhuri, Yan-Bin Jia, Lu Ruan, Simanta Mitra, & Dossay Oryspayev

Questions? Contact us! 

Definition of Computational Thinking

Computational thinking means thinking like a computer scientist. To do that in this competition, you will need to solve the problem posed by your project in the context of a computational model.

Computational Model

Definition of a Computational Model (note that the use of a computer is not required.)

•    There must be an instruction set.
•    The Computational Model must be able to store data and have the ability to support abstraction.
•    The instruction set must be able to operate on the data.
•    The Computational Model must support input (a way to get data into the model) and output (results of the solution need to be visible to the judges).

Project Choice

The project choice depends on the interests of the students involved. The project could come from any school subject, but projects are probably easier to find in science or mathematics classes. The thing to look for in choosing a project for this competition is, does the project pose a problem (task) that needs to be solved?

Annual Competition Rules and Judging Rubric

Each entry (individual or team) must have a project that requires a solution and the solution must be solved using computational thinking. Each student will present their project to a team of judges. Judges will rate the entries on:

•    Difficulty of the problem posed by the project
•    Cleverness of the solution to the problem
•    Appropriateness and cleverness of the computational model
•    Ability of the student(s) to explain how the project works

Entry Categories Include:

•    K - 3rd Grade
•    4th - 6th Grade
•    7th - 9th Grade
•    10th - 12th Grade

Win great prizes!

Find Out More About Scratch at https://scratch.mit.edu

2016-17 Contest Winners

Computational Thinking Competition

(Click the red link above to see our winners from 2016-17!)