Although recent research suggests that young children can master computational thinking (CT) concepts such as sequencing and identifying repeating patterns or loops, there is limited evidence that documents how CT can intersect with other STEM disciplines such as science, engineering, and mathematics during the preschool years. The current partnership between EDC/CCT, WGBH, and Kentucky Educational Television (KET) seeks to explore how CT can be integrated with mathematics in preschool learning and instructional environments.
The project will follow a process modeled after Clements' (2007) Curriculum Research Framework. Our team will partner directly with educators who work in under-served urban and rural preschool settings to understand the learning opportunities that could arise when CT is integrated into existing preschool mathematical instruction. Researchers from EDC/CCT and project partners from WGBH and KET will engage in a formative research process to explore children's CT learning and teachers' CT understanding as they experiment with prototype hands-on activities and digital tablet apps aligned with concepts taught in the NSF-funded Building Blocks preschool math curriculum. Researchers will also develop and administer a set of CT learning tasks and a math assessment to investigate how learning in these two content areas may correspond.
This project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s STEM + Computing Partnerships (STEM+C) program, which seeks to advance the integration of computational thinking and computing activities in early childhood education through high school (pre-K-12).