Teaching Computational Thinking : Fizzics Education


Have 10% off on us on your first purchase - Use code NOW10


Teaching Computational Thinking

Teaching Computational Thinking

Follow FizzicsEd Articles:

Although computational thinking is closely associated with computer science and excelling in other STEM careers, its basic concepts can be applied in any walk of life. Simply put, computational thinking is problem-solving in its purest form.

Breaking down a problem into smaller steps, identifying patterns in similar issues, only focusing on the most critical aspects of that problem, and creating a step-by-step solution is a process that can be used all the time in life.

So, by teaching computational thinking to your students, you’re setting them up to succeed in their education and the workforce once they get there. They’ll be equipped with a skill set to help them overcome challenges that may prevent them from graduating, like a challenging class or socializing with the wrong crowd. And one that will help them navigate the ups and downs of any career, like knowing when to move on from a company or dealing with a difficult coworker.

With the benefits of computational thinking in mind, you’re probably eager to get started teaching it to your students in the most efficient way. So, here are four tips for doing just that.

Four Tips for Teaching Computational Thinking

As stated above, teaching computational thinking to your students will help them tremendously in a STEM career and many other career paths and life in general. So, implement these four tips for teaching computational thinking to equip your students with this powerful skillset.

Start with a shift in mindset

Computational thinking will require your students to think about how they solve problems in an entirely new way. So, you must get everyone on board with shifting their mindsets and learning more about how they solve problems.

Introduce concepts that complement computational thinking. For example, iterative innovation. With this thought process, you brainstorm multiple solutions for one problem and thoroughly assess the benefits of each solution to come up with the best approach. Using what’s known as the RWW framework (Real-Win-Worth), students can determine how each solution directly addresses the problem, what value they provide when used, and whether it betters their experience with the problem.

But introducing computational thinking concepts isn’t enough. Students need to apply those concepts in real life and can do so through hands-on projects and using technology.

Implement hands-on projects and the use of tech in the classroom

Many of us use technology every day to solve a problem or perform a specific function. The same goes for the technology students use in school. Identifying what issues classroom tech helps them solve and how is a significant first step in learning computational thinking. But following it up with hands-on projects is ideal.

For example, IoT, or the Internet of Things, is anything assigned an IP address that can transfer data over a network. This technology could be a laptop, heart monitor, smartwatch, or sensors built into a car. In this case, IoT technology used in the classroom could be remote teaching tools, headsets, wearable tech, education-focused tablets, and interactive boards.

Making one or more of these devices available for your students to use and asking them to describe their interaction with them is a great way to incite computational thinking. Take it a step further with a group project that’s all about taking one of these devices apart and putting it back together. They’ll learn the importance of each component and how each tells the other what to do.

Additionally, you can allow students to create original projects that display their understanding of computational thinking.

Allow students the opportunity to create

It is equally beneficial for students to construct original creations that utilize computational thinking. Having the freedom to conceptualize and create a program, tool, toy, or other device that solves a specific problem will help them appreciate all it takes to engage in computational thinking.

So, you could start with a game that makes you the robot and ask your students to give you commands to achieve a specific action. Then, ask them to create a real robot in a group project. Or, give homework that asks them to break down particular processes like doing laundry, making lasagna, or cleaning their room. Ultimately, you want to provide as many opportunities as possible for your students to practice computational thinking.

Also, don’t forget to couple your lessons on computational thinking with additional resources to really hammer home the concepts and aid students in their understanding.

Couple your lessons with external resources

Your students won’t learn everything there is to know about computational thinking strictly in the classroom. That’s why you must share external resources with your students to keep the learning going at home. And resources that you can utilize yourself to teach computational thinking more effectively will be helpful as well.

For example, you could listen to podcasts that talk about engaging students beyond the classroom in STEM education and different ways to teach it. This will help you adjust your teaching style for the good of your students when it comes to computational thinking. You could also use online resources like Data.gov, Computer Science Unplugged, and Google for Education to create lesson plans that incite computational thinking. These sites can help you develop activities that explore computer science concepts and their connection to real life and how computational thinking is used in much more than science, engineering, mathematics, and technology.

Ultimately, coming up with creative lesson plans and using reliable external resources to back them up is the most thoughtful approach to teaching computational thinking.

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud


The value of computational thinking shouldn’t be overlooked. Your kids can thrive as students and eventually in the workplace with a solid understanding of computational thinking concepts and how to apply them.

So, to teach computational thinking effectively, start by getting your students to think about problem-solving differently. Then, give them hands-on projects that allow them to apply the concepts they’ve learned and space to create. And use external resources to encourage continued learning outside of the classroom.

Happy teaching,

Dan Matthews wearing a khaki jacket and glasses

Dan Matthews is a freelance writer and content consultant who specializes invaluable insights for a wide variety of audiences. However, he loves to focus on and emphasize the importance of the sciences as to create a better tomorrow through green technologies, sustainability, and environmental preservation.

Calendar of Events

HIGH SCHOOL Science@Home 4-Week Membership 12PM: March 2024

Feb 26, 2024 - Mar 29, 2024

12PM - 12PM

Price: $50 - $900

PRIMARY Science@Home 4-Week Membership 2PM: March 2024

Feb 26, 2024 - Mar 22, 2024

2PM - 2PM

Price: $50 - $900

Light and Colour Online Workshop, Jan 18 PM

Jan 18, 2024

2PM - 3PM

Price: $50

Light and Colour Online Workshop, Jan 18 AM

Jan 18, 2024

9AM - 11AM

Price: $50

Lego Robotics, Sydney Olympic Park Jan 2024

Jan 24, 2024

9AM - 12PM

Price: $50

Creative Coding, Sydney Olympic Park Jan 2024

Jan 24, 2024

1PM - 4PM

Price: $50

Creative Coding, Sydney Olympic Park July 11 2023

Jul 11, 2023

9AM - 4PM

Price: $100

Fizzics Education STEAM Day: Robots vs Dinosaurs, Lalor, Apr 14

Apr 14, 2023

9AM - 12PM

Price: $45 - $50

Creative Coding, Sydney Olympic Park April 14 2023

Apr 14, 2023

9AM - 4PM

Price: $100

Science@Home After School 4-Week Membership: March 2023

Mar 06, 2023 - Mar 31, 2023

4PM - 5PM

Price: $40 - $1200



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.