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North Dakota K-12 Computer Science Standards

Download a free 3-5 STEM career lesson that aligns with the North Dakota computer science standards.

Ellipsis Education Computer Science Curriculum

Ellipsis Education computer science curriculum is grade-level differentiated, aligns with North Dakota state standards, and is continually updated to reflect changes in computer science. Since computer science is more than just coding, Ellipsis Education courses include coding, unplugged, digital citizenship, and STEM career lessons as well as hardware integrations.

Free Computer Science Lesson

In the lesson Aviation, students will be introduced to the daily routines, skills, and responsibilities of airline pilots and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators. Students will compare and contrast the two careers by completing a venn diagram. The lesson plan aligns with the ND DPI standards and includes links to the appropriate materials and resources, a detailed procedure, activity tips, and a bonus challenge activity.

North Dakota Computer Science Standards

As of 2023, North Dakota requires computer science and cybersecurity education for all K-12 students. To teach these subject areas, the North Dakota Department of Education and Public Instruction (ND DPI) implemented computer science and cybersecurity standards in 2019 in an effort to equip K-12 students with 21st century skills. The ND standards are composed of five grade leveled categories: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 general, and 9-12 extension.  The 9-12 extension standards are for specialized classes in high school that students may choose to pursue. The standards were inspired by the  CSTA standards and the K-12 CS Framework with adjustments to best suit the needs of North Dakota schools and students. The concepts and subconcepts across all levels are:

  1. Technology Systems

    1. Networks & Internet

    2. Hardware & Software

    3. Troubleshooting

  2. Computational Thinking

    1. Problem Solving & Algorithms

    2. Data Creation & Analysis

    3. Development & Design

  3. Information Literacy

    1. Access

    2. Evaluate

    3. Create

    4. Intellectual Property

  4. Computing in Society

    1. Impacts of Computing

    2. Social Interactions

  5. Digital Citizenship

    1. Safety & Ethics

    2. Responsible Use

    3. Digital Identity

Embedded throughout these concepts and subconcepts are cybersecurity standards. Because of our increasingly technology-driven society, the North Dakota State Board of Education incorporated cybersecurity in the standards in order to ensure students are equipped with the knowledge to keep themselves safe. The cybersecurity standards are indicated with CYSEC in parentheses next to each appropriate standard.

For guidance on teaching computer science and cybersecurity in your classroom, explore our free professional development webinars, including this one about core programming concepts.

ND CTE Standards

The CTE (Career and Technical Education) Standards in North Dakota are designed to prepare students of all ages for the world of work. North Dakota offers 9 different career clusters, or program areas. You can explore all of the program areas on the ND insights website. Two of these program areas have a focus on computer science and technology: Information Technology and Technology & Engineering. Each program includes occupation, industry, and career specific knowledge, alongside opportunities for further career exploration. Currently, CTE is offered to high school students across North Dakota. However, we offer a My STEM Career podcast that explores various STEM careers and could guide you in ND’s vision to prepare K12 students with the world of work. For example, in this My STEM Career interview, learn about a career in cybersecurity as a Digital Security Analyst. Then, download a free lesson, built for grades 6-8, about digital security analysts that corresponds with the interview.

When creating your institution’s CTE plan(s) of study, the first steps are to crosswalk the Cluster and Pathway Knowledge and Skills to the content of your existing secondary and postsecondary programs/courses. Ellipsis Education can provide these crosswalks to our K-12 courses in support of your development of CTE programs of study. Sample crosswalks to the STEM Career Cluster – Knowledge and Skill Statements have been created for each Ellipsis Education course. Schedule a demo with our accounts team to learn more about specific career clusters and courses. To increase CTE funding at your school, visit the ND CTE website for information on ND CTE grants and funding opportunities.

Computer Science Education Requirements

Now that you have explored the ND content standards for computer science 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, Ellipsis Education 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 North Dakota 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.

K-12 Computer Science Curriculum

Ellipsis Education provides full-year K-12 computer science curriculum that aligns with the North Dakota K-12 computer science standards. The curriculum offers grade level differentiated learning pathways, aligns with all state and national computer science standards including the North Dakota priority standards for CS, and is continually updated to reflect changes in computer science. Ellipsis Education 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 the CS ND science standards.

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 Fundamentals courses are built for grades K-2.  Our Computer Science Foundations courses are built for grades 3-5.  All of our courses can be found on our website.

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.

Explore our full K-12 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 North Dakota, including North Dakota State University and University of North Dakota, 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, computer science skills 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).

Ellipsis Education 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, Ellipsis Education offers free STEM career lessons, including this one that aligns with high school CS standards.

Free Coding Lesson

In the lesson Aviation, students will be introduced to the daily routines, skills, and responsibilities of airline pilots and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators. Students will compare and contrast the two careers by completing a venn diagram. The lesson plan aligns with the ND priority standards for computer science and includes links to the appropriate materials and resources, a detailed procedure, activity tips, and a bonus challenge activity.

Removing barriers to teaching computer science.