Welcome to Computer Science Principles! The first lesson is about getting students excited about the course and connecting their own personal interests to computer science. Students are asked to share something they know a lot about and teach it to a small group. Groups make a "rapid" prototype of an innovative idea and share it. For the Wrap Up, students watch a brief video about computing innovations, and the lesson ends with students answering a brief prompt about what "computer science" means to them.


Students will be able to:


This activity plants the initial seed for students to think about the ways in which they might be able to solve some problems relevant to their lives with technological innovations.


Getting Started


Prompt: What's something that you know a lot about? Something that you could teach somebody?

Teaching Tip

If students need help coming up with ideas, share these tips:

  • This doesn't have to be a subject in school - it very well might not be.
  • As a person, as an individual who is living and breathing in this world, there is something that you probably know a lot about - maybe you feel like you know more about than most people. What is that thing?"

Discuss: With a partner or a small group:

Teaching Tip

What you're trying to do here is get students to state something that they are interested in, but also know a lot about - something they might have insights into.

A big part of students' enthusiasm for sharing will come from your enthusiasm and genuine interest in getting to know them.

Students might need prodding: there is something that makes them interesting and unique. Something they like to do, have interest in, read about, have some expertise in, a hidden talent.


Identify impacts and prototype an innovation


Brainstorm Technological Innovation

Do This: Either as individuals or in small groups,

We've just brainstormed about some technology ideas at the table. Now, let's develop that idea with a rapid prototype -- something to quickly convey the idea.

Wrap Up

Welcome Students to the Course

Take this opportunity to explain the importance of bringing individual interests and perspectives to this course. From day one, students should be thinking about how to apply the principles they learn to their own lives, and hopefully they will be excited to do so. Consider some of the following remarks to contextualize this activity and build excitement about the rest of the year.


Next, we're going to listen to a video that talks about how technology affects every area of our lives. After the video, students will complete a short reflection activity.

Assessment: Check For Understanding

Computer science has changed the way we communicate with each other, make art and movies, grow food, and even treat illnesses. Everyone can learn computer science and make a difference.

Quotes from Students

Still, we understand that taking a computer science course can be difficult at first. Here are a few student quotes describing their strategies and tips for taking this course. Please read the quotes carefully and respond to the prompt below.

       "At the start of the class I worried that I was different from the other students. I 
        wasn't sure I fit in -- I worried that I couldn't do it and that the teacher and other 
        students would look down on me. A few days after I started, I realized that almost 
        everyone who takes the class isn't sure if they fit in at first. It's something 
        everyone goes through. Now it seems ironic -- everybody feels different at first, when 
        really we're all going through the same thing." -Sofia P. (age 16)

       "I loved this computer science class! I've met some cool people and learned a lot. But 
        it was a difficult transition. The first few days I was intimidated and not sure why I 
        should learn computer science. Why would I need it? But then we talked in class about 
        things I'm interested in, like music and design, and I realized that I can learn how to 
        do cool new things. I had the wrong picture in my head about CS, it's actually very 
        creative! I just had to be patient and find ways to connect the class to what I really 
        care about." -Jasmin D. (age 17)

       "I didn't have any experience with code, and I worried that I was not prepared for this 
        class. Other students did some programming at home or in summer camps. On my first day, 
        I was so nervous about getting bad grades and looking stupid. But then, I started to 
        feel better -- I talked with other students and enjoyed the class more. I became more 
        comfortable asking for help when I had a problem. It turned out that the students with 
        CS experience had the same issues as me! Hah, it took some time, but now I really feel 
        like I belong in CS class." -Sam J. (age 17)

Reflect and Summarize

Now consider the above strategies and insights about how to learn best and respond to the prompt below.

Prompt: What are your own strategies and insights about how to learn best? And, how are they similar or different to the ones that you just heard about from other students?

Students can discuss in small groups and then share out with the whole class. It's ok if at this point students don't have an answer to this prompt.

Standards Alignment