Journal of STEM Teacher Education


Curriculum, legislation, and standards across the nation are quickly evolving to incorporate computer science and computational thinking concepts into K-12 classrooms. For example, many states have passed legislation requiring computer science to be included in every school’s curriculum. Most states, however, report high shortages of qualified computer science teachers, meaning, teachers without extensive training will be required to integrate these concepts into their classrooms—a daunting task for most teachers without the necessary background and experiences. This paper reports the impacts of a thirteen-week intervention in a local elementary school designed to introduce computational thinking skills to 4th and 5th grade students. This intervention involved the first two authors working with a teacher and her students to introduce a project-based activity into the traditional curriculum. As students worked to design, build, and automate a model clubhouse, they incorporated foundational construction concepts as well as computational thinking skills. Our findings shed light on the potential for such a project to influence student and teacher’s perceptions of related fields, and abilities, and student’s perceptions of related professions.