Montana - Ellipsis Education

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Montana K-12 Computer Science Standards

Download a free 3-5 digital citizenship lesson that aligns with the OPI Montana standards for computer science and technology.

Codelicious Computer Science Curriculum

Codelicious Computer Science Curriculum is grade-level differentiated, aligns with Montana computer science standards, and is continually updated to reflect changes in computer science. Since computer science is more than just coding, Codelicious courses include coding, unplugged, digital citizenship, and STEM career lessons as well as hardware integrations.

Free Computer Science Lesson


In this activity, students will discuss the emotional impacts of breaking news and the trustworthiness of digital media. Students will learn how to approach news headlines and how to use a critical lens when viewing media. This lesson is built for grades 3 – 5, aligns with the Montana OPI standards, and introduces examples of good digital citizenship.

The digital citizenship lesson includes links to the appropriate materials and resources, a detailed procedure, activity tips, and a bonus challenge activity.

Montana Computer Science Standards

OPI Montana (Office of Public Instruction) adapted the Montana state standards for computer science from the CSTA standards, a nationally recognized set of K-12 computer science standards. The standards are grade-specific for K-5, then grade banded for 6-8 and 9-12.

The content areas that are taught in each grade level are:

  1. Algorithms and Programming

  2. Computing Systems

  3. Data and Analysis

  4. Impacts of Computing

  5. Network and the Internet

The skills that all students will practice are:

  1. Fostering an inclusive computing culture

  2. Collaborating around computing

  3. Recognizing and defining computational problems

  4. Developing and using abstractions

  5. Creating computational artifacts

  6. Testing and refining computational artifacts

  7. Communicating about computing

For further assistance and information about implementing the K-12 content standards for computer science, you can view this CS curriculum guide from the Montana Office for Public Instruction.

In addition to the Montana content standards for computer science, there are Montana technology standards for integration.  These standards are for integrating technology into other content standards in education and were adapted from the ISTE standards. All Codelicious courses have been awarded the ISTE Seal of Alignment. This seal means our curriculum provides a high-quality, standards-aligned learning experience that enhances students’ digital age skills.

The standards are grade-specific for K-5, then by grade bands 6-8 and 9-12. The content areas and skills to be taught in each grade level are:

  1. Empowered Learners

  2. Digital Citizens

  3. Knowledge Constructors

  4. Innovative Designers

  5. Computational Thinkers

  6. Creative Communicators

  7. Global Collaborators

  8. Reflective Users

For example, a 4th grader may be working on a presentation for ELA class.  A slideshow might be used to present the student’s information.  This would align with both the 4th grade Montana ELA standards and the Montana standard for technology. In another example, the Montana math standards can be taught alongside this free lesson that teaches the coordinate plane.

What Is Computer Science Education

The importance of computer science in education 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 these skills starting at a young age?

Currently, computer science programs are serving students as young as kindergarten all the way to high school. Most of these CS courses consist of a coding component, where students learn programming skills. The basic building blocks of coding such as loops, functions, and conditionals can be taught in elementary school and applied to more complex languages as students progress in their K-12 journey. As students attempt more advanced projects, such as developing websites, programs, and games, they are motivated to connect with their world and empowered to expand their skills. To get you started, check out this free coding lesson for grades K-2 that teaches programming skills.

Computer science education, however, is not only about coding. K 12 computer science also focuses on developing 21st century skills, such as the 4 C’s (communication, collaboration, computational thinking, and creativity). A strong foundation in these computer science skills will serve them well for years to come, regardless of the path they decide to pursue. We offer computer science professional development and training for K-12 teachers, including this free webinar about the 4 C’s. Check out our other free professional development sessions to complement the Montana OPI Learning Hub.

Computer Science Education Requirements

Now that you have explored the Montana state computer science standards and understand the basics of computer science education, how can you get started? Perhaps you are new to teaching computer science and don’t know how to begin to focus your efforts. Perhaps you do have some experience and knowledge of the basics, but struggle with a curriculum progression that makes sense for your students. The pressure is on to deliver computer science knowledge to students that may know more than you! Luckily, there are a few baseline requirements that can help you create a computer science implementation plan.

The first part of your computer science implementation plan is your teachers. Finding passionate educators that will engage and learn alongside students is essential. Good news: your teachers do not have to have experience with computer science. Programming languages that come and go; there will always be something new on the horizon. One of the benefits of studying computer science is that having a strong foundation in certain concepts will be relevant for all languages and most applications going forward. Success in computer science is much more than just coding. It’s being a problem-solver, thinking critically, and having the ability to collaborate effectively with peers. Seeking growth in those essential skills is just as applicable for teachers as it is for students. There are many organizations that offer free educational events and communities for teachers interested in computer science. Furthermore, Codelicious offers free professional development webinars that dive into different computer science subject areas.

Next, choose a curriculum that aligns with your school’s unique instructional strategy for computer science. There are multiple things to consider here.

  1. Standards alignment: You want to align with the Montana K-12 computer science standards, which includes determining which lessons cover the standards, when they will be taught, and generating the alignment documentation.

  2. Pacing: You want to establish fidelity of instruction across class periods, classrooms, and grade levels. You want a consistent curriculum for your teachers and students that is tailored to your scheduling needs.

  3. Assessment methods: Students learn and demonstrate knowledge differently, so you want multiple ways to gain insight into your classroom, including summative and formative assessments.

  4. Lesson plans: You want to make sure that lessons within the curriculum are scaffolded and paced to deliver student outcomes, and empower teachers to create an engaging student experience.

Finally, reflect on the values of teaching computer science. Our students are the most important consideration in any new program. You want to engage them, surprise them, and teach them the skills they need for their future. It is powerful to give students the opportunity to see a project come to life before their eyes. Enjoy watching your future computer science experts discover their potential!

Underneath “Related Articles” on this page, you can find other teaching computer science articles to help you on your journey of teaching the Montana OPI science standards for CS.

Title I

If you are a Title I school in Montana, you may consider using your federal funds to purchase computer science curriculum.


Title I funds programming for low-income students. The money must go toward helping these students meet academic state standards. The amount of Title I funding distributed across the nation is available through the DOE website (most recently updated in 2017).


Title I usage is based on the makeup of your student body. If 40% or more of your school’s students come from low-income families, Title I funds must be used on school-wide initiatives. These are known as Title I schools. If less than 40% of your school’s students come from low-income families, Title I funds must be used for programming that targets low-income students. It is important to note that Title I funds must go directly to low-income students, and the programs/materials cannot have been used in other classrooms first.

K 12 Computer Science Curriculum

Codelicious provides full-year K-12 computer science curriculum that aligns with the Montana K-12 computer science standards. In addition, all Codelicious courses have been awarded the ISTE Seal of Alignment. This seal means Codelicious aligns with the ISTE standards and provides a high-quality, standards-aligned learning experience that enhances students’ digital age skills. The curriculum offers grade level differentiated learning pathways, aligns with all state and national computer science standards, and is continually updated to reflect changes in computer science. Codelicious courses are customized to districts’ unique instructional strategy for computer science integration. This can mean incorporating computer science into an existing class period, adding to a specials rotation, or introducing a stand alone class. Courses are delivered with instructional resources teachers need to feel confident teaching computer science in K-12.

Our computer science curriculum for K-2 empowers you to engage your students with courses that fuel their interest. Coding lessons use ScratchJr, an introductory block coding language, perfect for emergent and early readers. In grades 3-5, inspire your students with courses that spark their creativity. Coding lessons use Scratch, a block based coding language, ideal for the transitional and fluent reader.

Our computer science curriculum middle school (6-8) helps you motivate your students with courses that connect to their world. Coding lessons use line based languages JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Java to explore programming options.

Our computer science high school curriculum (9-12) helps you empower your students with courses that expand their skills. Coding lessons use JavaScript, Java, Python, and Godot to develop websites, programs, and games.

Each lesson in each course includes links to the appropriate materials and resources, a detailed procedure, activity tips, and a bonus challenge activity. The lessons include teacher and student slide decks to assist with the planning and instruction of computer science. The slide decks also assist in teaching the ELD standards as they aid in language development for CS.

To view how our curriculum aligns with other national standards such as the Common Core standards or the NGSS standards, check out our K-12 Computer Science Standards page.

Explore our full k-12 computer science education course offering on our courses page. If any of these course options interest you, schedule a 30 minute call with one of our curriculum experts. Find the curriculum that will support every teacher as they inspire every student.

Computer Science Degree

After being introduced to computer science curriculum in K-12, students may be inspired to continue their computer science education. On a professional level, companies are recruiting for computer science degree jobs in cloud computing, app development, and statistical analysis. On an individual level, computational thinking, problem solving, and relationship building are all deeply influenced by computer science. This understanding of computer science jobs leads to much broader applications. you don’t necessarily need a degree in computer science; anyone that uses technology to solve problems can be considered a computer scientist!

Introducing computer science in the K-12 experience opens doors for students to pursue a computer science degree in college. The top computer science colleges in Montana, including Montana State University, Carroll College, and Montana Technological University offer concentrations in various areas of computer science, like computer information systems, information technology, computer software and applications, and computer systems networking. The reality is, though, students do not need to attend a top university to pursue these computer science majors. Even non-STEM majors, like business, biology, and English use computer science skills to communicate ideas.

Likewise, the Montana science standards for CS taught in K-12 can be applied directly to any career students pursue after high school. Computational thinking, problem solving, and teamwork can be applied in trades (like electrician, plumber, and HVAC) and other positions (like retail, restaurants, and reception).

Codelicious spotlights the many forms of computer science careers in our My STEM Career podcast. In these interviews, hear from professionals, students, and teachers as they share how they built confidence in their computer science skills. Two particularly interesting interviews include Will Muto, a Product Technical Director at Industrial Light and Magic, who worked on Star Wars films, and Alia Enos, Software Developer II at 343 Industries, who works on the Halo video game series. In addition, Codelicious offers free STEM career lessons, including this one that aligns with high school computer science standards.

Free CS Lesson


In Password Safety, students will discuss and understand whether or not to share their passwords with different people. This lesson is built for grades 3 – 5, aligns with the Montana OPI technology standards, and introduces examples of good digital citizenship.

The digital citizenship lesson includes links to the appropriate materials and resources, a detailed procedure, activity tips, and a bonus challenge activity.

Removing barriers to teaching computer science.