Computer Science-in-a-Box: Unplug Your Curriculum (2018 Update)

Published on 12/22/2017

Computer Science-in-a-Box: Unplug Your Curriculum introduces fundamental building blocks of computer science — without using computers. Use it with students ages 9 to 14 to teach lessons about how computers work, while addressing critical mathematics and science concepts such as number systems, algorithms, and manipulating variables and logic.

Computers are everywhere. But how many of us understand how they work, or how they think? Computer science explores these questions. Every student can benefit from an introduction to the science that is possibly most central to their lives — computer science.

Presenting these activities to your students will allow them to:

  • understand how zeros and ones can be used to represent information such as digital images and numbers
  • understand fundamental ideas of logic and apply logic to solve problems, such as sorting information into useful order quickly
  • develop an understanding of algorithms that goes beyond basic operations of arithmetic

This revision of the NCWIT Program-in-a-Box, based on Computer Science Unplugged ( concepts, includes new activities and a more elaborate set of classroom materials, developed at the Colorado School of Mines ( to enable even novice teachers to teach these activities as part of their academic curriculum.

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