Computer Science Discoveries Computer Science Discoveries Curriculum for Ionia Middle School

CS Discoveries is an introductory computer science course that empowers students to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem solving, and fun.  

The first semester of CS Discoveries introduces students to computer science as a vehicle for problem solving, communication, and personal expression. As a whole, this semester focuses on the visible aspects of computing and computer science, and encourages students to see where computer science exists around them and how they can engage with it as a tool for exploration and expression.

Unit 1:

Problem Solving

Students learn the problem-solving process, the input-output-store-process model of a computer, and how computers help humans solve problems. Students end the unit by proposing their own app to solve a problem.

Unit 2:

Web Development

Students learn to create websites using HTML and CSS inside’s Web Lab environment. Throughout the unit, students consider questions of privacy and ownership on the internet as they develop their own personal websites.

Unit 3:

Animations and Games

Students learn fundamental programming constructs and practices in the JavaScript programming language while developing animations and games in’s Game Lab environment. Students end the unit by designing their own animations and games.


Semester 2 - Innovation and Impact

Where the first semester centers on the immediately observable and personally applicable elements of computer science, the second semester asks students to look outward and explore the impact of computer science on society. Students will see how a thorough user-centered design process produces a better application, how data is used to address problems that affect large numbers of people, and how physical computing with circuit boards allows computers to collect input and return output in a variety of ways.


Unit 4:

The Design Process

Students apply the problem solving process to the problems of others, learning to empathize with the needs of a user and design solutions to address those needs. During the second half of the unit, students form teams to prototype an app of their own design, first on paper and eventually in’s App Lab environment.

Unit 5:

Data and Society

Students explore different systems used to represent information in a computer and the challenges and trade offs posed by using them. In the second half of the unit, students learn how collections of data are used to solve problems and how computers help to automate the steps of this process.

Unit 6:

Physical Computing

Students use’s App Lab environment, in conjunction with the Adafruit Circuit Playground, to explore the relationship between hardware and software. Throughout the unit, students develop prototypes that mirror existing innovative computing platforms, before ultimately designing and prototyping one of their own.