coding NGSS science

3 ways to leverage elementary coding for NGSS standards

A management formula for incorporating more early learning coding into the curriculum without giving up critical components.

As our district has started exploring the role that computer coding should play in our students’ educational lives, more than once the following question has come up: What NGSS standards will this cover?

This is a critical question. If we are going to take instructional time to work with students to code more, we are going to have to quit doing something else in order to have the time to do it.

So, what should we give up? Will coding allow us to cover other standards to ensure that students will be well prepared?

Fortunately, there are good answers to these questions across all different grade levels. Here, we will focus on science. If a teacher were to give up some “science time” and teach coding to students, which of the NGSS standards would be covered?

Kindergarten Through 2nd Grade
: Even at this early age, the mental concepts that are developed while coding are good for student thinking. There are many advantages to using coding in the classroom, so what would be covered in the science standards that would deepen the student’s learning?

Engineering and design: The knowledge needed for mastery of these standards could easily be developed through a basic, early-literacy coding curriculum. “The teacher can develop and use models” is one of the three root standard areas. It includes students using and analyzing data about the outcome of different situations, students creating visual models to solve problems, and using new tools to solve problems. Students at this level can “code” without the use of language, but the concepts of “language” can be integrated as they learn it.

A great starting point for this is and their unplugged videos. These give practical examples of how knowledge can be built from the early years to help get students thinking like programmers.

(Next page: Meeting NGSS standards through coding in other grade levels)

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