Computer Science & Coding
Our K-12 computer science & coding curriculum
Inspired by Code.org, we have implemented a K-12 coding curriculum that introduces all students to the language of computer programming. In addition, Tonka Coders & Makers simultaneously offers and develops advanced level coursework for students aspiring to specialize in this area. This program is unique– one of the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota.
As demand for computer programming skills continues to increase in the job market, opportunities remain sparse for students to learn these skills in public schools across the country. Computer programming skills have become essential to our students' success. This is not because they will all grow up to program computers, but because our students need to understand the science behind digital devices, which play such an important role in our modern world. Students need to create technology, not just consume it.
- The Journey Begins: K-5 Tonka Codes
- Maximizing the Middle: MME & MMW Computer Science
- The Finish Line: High School
In Minnetonka, students are exposed to Computer Science as early as Kindergarten. All students will learn the same basic content per grade level. Decisions about frequency will be made on a school and grade level basis.
K-5 students will learn fundamental computer programming skills using a variety of tools:
- Kindergarten students will use hands-on tool like Bee-Bots and games such as Robot Turtles.
- First through 5th grade students will use Code.org’s Computer Science Fundamentals courses B-F.
- Students in kindergarten through fourth grade will also use apps such as ScratchJr to begin using their coding skills to produce projects that demonstrate their learning in other subject areas such as health, reading, social studies, etc.
- Fifth grade students will also have opportunities to begin exploring Swift Playgrounds, Learn to Code 1 via their 1:1 iPad.
- Participate in computer programming week through an hour of coding event. Different grade levels explore different apps in a district wide effort to introduce more coding in the classroom.
After School Opportunities:
There will be several after-school extension and skill-building clubs, as well as school-wide and District-wide challenges.
The middle school years are critical to building a strong foundation in and love for computer science. At the middle school, students at every level have the opportunity to elect into computer science courses. During 6th grade, students can take CS Foundations, which introduces them to many ways we see code in our life such as, games and animation, physical computing and through apps. In subsequent 7th and 8th grade courses, students can choose which of those areas they'd like to learn more about.
Changing technology has created a growing need for people with experience and education in computer science. Many employers are experiencing shortages of highly trained technical people, especially in computer science related fields. Whether students are planning to go to college, technical college, or into employment right after high school, they will gain valuable information and technology skills. Careers of today require strong academic and technical preparation. By carefully planning course selection, students will improve their employment opportunities.
Minnetonka High School also offer Computer Science course through Tonka Online, which is a great option to consider if you are having difficulty fitting CS courses into your traditional High School schedule. Students interested in exploring User Experience (UX) Design can develop their skills in this unique course offered through VANTAGE.
Long-term goals of the curriculum
Our long-term goals of the Elementary Coding program span early childhood to high school. In the curriculum, we will...
- Introduce computer programming through fun, skill-building applications in elementary school English, math, science and art classes to ensure students solidify a foundation of computer programming knowledge and skills.
- Explore the diverse range of careers that require computer programming skills.
- Provide opportunities for co-curricular coding, programming activities and clubs, both during and after school.
- Engage students in programming-based experiences and competitions, including CoderDojo, Droodle, Code Savvy and Girls in Tech.
- Support extra-curricular opportunities as well as state-level and national competitions in the area of programming.
- Design more rigorous middle school and high school electives with college-level curriculum, including AP Computer Science and VANTAGE courses to prepare students for top higher education programs.
- Build a strong portfolio of community and industry partnerships to support higher levels of instruction and better access to industry resources, expertise and opportunities for students.
Learn more about Tonka Coders & Makers:
- Paperless Hall Passes in School: There's a (Student Made) App For That
- Minnetonka Linear Algebra 8th Graders Use Bootstrap to Code
- More Than an Hour of Code: Tonka Coding & Computer Science Programs
- Video Game Design and Computer Coding at High School
- 7,843 Hours of Coding this Week @TonkaSchools
- Computer Coding Starting in Kindergarten