Lesson Types - Ellipsis Education

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Ellipsis Education Lesson Types

Computer science is more than just coding. That is why Ellipsis Education includes four lesson types: unplugged, coding, digital citizenship, and STEM careers. By implementing a curriculum that intentionally incorporates these lesson types, teachers can provide meaningful engagement, nurture connections to the world of work, use high-quality instructional practices, and increase access and equity within computer science education.

Student Centered Learning with Ellipsis Education Lessons

While coding is certainly an integral part of computer science education, Ellipsis Education also provides a variety of lesson types to cultivate rich and meaningful student engagement.

The Lesson types (unplugged, coding, digital citizenship, and STEM careers) are one way Ellipsis Education supports a multi-modal approach to delivering instruction. Let’s explore an example of each lesson type from Computer Science Foundations 2. Notice how each lesson supports the same CSTA standard (1A-AP-15) and provides frequent opportunities for hands-on activities as they relate to problem-solving, development of understanding, and demonstration of learning.


Visit our Computer Science Lesson Plans page for downloadable versions of each lesson type,

organized by grade band.

Computer Science Pedagogy and Theory

John Dewey, famed education philosopher, posited the idea that school should be a

functioning version of a miniature society. When we think of schools as societies, images of students actively working, building, and creating spring to mind. It is this vision that has guided the development of each computer science education course at Ellipsis Education.

Ellipsis Education (and thus, each lesson type) is built on the educational theories of constructionism and constructivism – similar, but distinct concepts. Constructivism places emphasis on the importance of personal construction of meaning and understanding through direct experiences. Ellipsis Education meets the goals of constructivism by providing students with the opportunity to experience, first-hand, computer concepts and applications through direct interaction with coding programs and other components. Constructionism, then, takes it one step further and suggests that students’ learning is even further optimized when they are allowed to create tangible, shareable artifacts as a result of their learning. Ellipsis Education leans on constructionism by working in plentiful opportunities for students to build, share, and reflect on their unique artifacts of learning.

Ellipsis Education resources and facilitation suggestions help teachers embed these pedagogical best practices in their instruction. The syllabus, pacing guides, and standards maps help teachers better understand how the courses will work to address students’ learning goals. Ellipsis Education English Language Learner supplemental teaching guides provide teachers with specific strategies for meeting the needs of ELLs, while increasing access and equity within computer science education. Quick chats, activity tips, and social emotional learning supports are embedded within lessons to give teachers additional insights into how to craft the learning experiences to best meet the needs of their students.

Project-Based Learning

Our beliefs about constructivism and constructionism have led us to deliver Ellipsis Education through a project-based learning (PBL) approach. Through PBL, students’ learning is continually situated within the context of real-world problems. And, more importantly, students propose solutions to those problems by designing and creating artifacts of their learning.

Research shows that project-based learning results in high levels of student engagement (Brush & Saye, 2008) and improved collaborative skills (ChanLin, 2008). Best of all, project-based learning holds promise for exposing students to STEM careers and encouraging them to pursue these subjects throughout their academic and professional careers (Crouch, 2015; Verma & McKinney, 2015).

Ellipsis Education also employs inquiry-based learning throughout the curriculum. Students experience inquiry-based learning when they develop investigatable questions, generate evidence-based claims, support evidence with reasonable explanations, and experience open-ended lessons. Inquiry-based practices happen throughout the Ellipsis EducationK-12 pathway. One example from our Computer Science Foundations Kindergarten course encourages learners to free play in a block coding platform. This open-ended exploration encourages creativity and helps students overcome mistakes. Later, in Intro to Computer Science Applications for 6th grade, students are supported in working through the process of developing a complete scientific argument, including a claim, evidence, and reasoning.

Computer Science Jobs

The importance of computer science in school curriculum is clear as technology continues to advance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11% from 2019 to 2029. Given this, shouldn’t we equip our students with this knowledge at a young age?

Exploring STEM careers in the classroom encourages students to consider the wide variety of professions that are influenced by computer science. Some students may ask, “What can you do with a computer science degree besides programming?” Even if they don’t wish to become a data scientist or developer, guided career lessons can help students understand the ways STEM knowledge can help them regardless of their path. In our digital world, computer science skills are foundational to any career, from baker to farmer, doctor to web designer.

One of the lesson types in Ellipsis Education is STEM Careers. These lessons and activities within Codelicious courses show students the importance of computer science in modern life. Most lessons begin with a video and discussion, allowing the educator to raise awareness about a specific STEM career. Students consider the specific training and traits required of a person in this field. Then, students assume the role of the professional, completing a hands-on activity that mirrors the daily work of that particular STEM career. For example, in the Aviation lesson for grade 6, students organize data similar to the way a pilot has to coordinate information before a flight. To see an example, download a free STEM Career lesson on our website.

Furthermore, as a free way to explore computer science careers in the classroom, Ellipsis Education produces the My STEM Career series. This podcast and video series features industry experts that share information about their careers, describe their professional experiences, and offer advice to students.

Each interview on this show matches a particular STEM Career lesson in Ellipsis Education, but you don’t need to purchase an Ellipsis Education course to benefit from the conversation. Listen at the top of the show for grade-appropriate questions, and stay tuned for the second half when we dive into an all-age appropriate journey of each interviewee’s life, career, and advice. Listen to all the episodes of My STEM Career.

Inclusion and Diversity in Computer Science

In a December 2018 EdSurge survey, 88% of K-12 educators indicated that computer science education was critical for students’ postsecondary success; however, only 20% reported that their students were currently afforded access to computer science learning (Nazerian, 2018). Clearly, computer science education statistics prove that STEM is a priority amongst educators, but access to programming is inequitable (Leung et al., 2021). Similarly, current issues in computer science education reveal that students from underserved populations, especially low income households, start out behind their peers in K-12 STEM (Reardon, 2011). These students are less likely to persist in a STEM experience (Maltese & Tai, 2011), meaning they lose interest in STEM programs that are not fully integrated within the context of the school day. Additionally, efforts to expand access to marginalized groups must pay careful attention to the intersection of race and gender with the dynamics of STEM (e.g., Buck et al., 2020; Cochran, et al., 2020; Jong et al., 2020).

Ellipsis Education focuses on the needs of representation, accessibility, and inclusion for underrepresented groups in STEM fields. First, Ellipsis Education curriculum writers make an explicit effort to include images, descriptions, names, and examples that are racially diverse, gender-inclusive, culturally varied, and conscious of the varying levels of physical ability. This helps every student see themselves in various aspects of STEM covered in the curriculum. For example, when discussing scientists, Ellipsis Education lessons include diverse representation in imagery and discussion of historical figures.

Next, Ellipsis Education courses include lessons about digital accessibility. For example, in Intro to Computer Science Applications, students discuss the definition of accessibility in relation to websites. In addition to understanding groups that benefit from accessibility features in websites, students are taught the specific industry techniques used to make websites accessible to those groups.

Third, Ellipsis Education recognizes that STEM curriculum disproportionately benefits schools with software budgets and students with consistent internet access. To combat this issue, Ellipsis Education courses use open-source student development environments. In addition, all Ellipsis Education courses include platform options for both online and offline practice.

Finally, Ellipsis Education provides educators with tools to accommodate diverse learners’ needs. Each coding lesson includes supplemental documentation for English Language Learners. Based on WIDA language mastery levels, this documentation uses SIOP approaches to develop tailored language goals for each step of a lesson. These documents allow educators to ensure all students have access to quality STEM curriculum regardless of their English language mastery.

Computer Science in Education

Computer science in K-12 is in high demand. Studies show that 91% of parents want their children exposed to computer science. In addition, 85% of parents believe access to computer science is just as, or more important, than core subjects. Given these statistics, along with the increasing rate of computer science legislation at the state and local levels, computer science teachers are in high demand.

Ellipsis Education is built to empower teachers, regardless of their technical experience, to teach computer science. Each course is teacher led and designed with detailed, step-by-step instructions, requiring no additional material purchases. Furthermore, Ellipsis Education provides extensive teacher professional development at start-up, followed by ongoing technical support, growing the capacity for computer science education within partnering schools and/or districts. Learn more about the training and support offered with Ellipsis Education courses.

Ellipsis Education ongoing technical assistance that is provided to partnering schools and/or districts provides a seamless and sustained support system for delivery of Ellipsis Education, which is coupled with online resources for teachers on the Ellipsis Education website as well. One example is Ellipsis Education professional development webinars. These sessions cover various computer science topics, offering guidance for novice CS teachers while also allowing experienced CS teachers room for professional growth. Explore the full library of computer science professional development opportunities on our website.

When teachers are supported and confident with computer science material, they have the incredible ability to inspire students. Educators are the guides that help students see themselves in STEM roles and make connections to the real world. We understand that every teacher wants to see their students grow into intelligent, caring, successful adults; Ellipsis Education is built with that important (and essential) mission in mind. See the impact of Ellipsis Education on students in our Student Experience video.

Computer Science Education PDF

Explore the Ellipsis Education lesson types by downloading free computer science lessons for K-12. Each lesson plan PDF includes links to the appropriate materials and resources, a detailed procedure, activity tips, and a bonus challenge activity.