What Do Computer Scientists Do?

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Students will learn about computer scientists by using some of their practices in the classroom and watching a video.

Big Idea

There are different types of scientists who explore their area of expertise and make contributions to society.


5 minutes

My students start this lesson out in our meeting place.  I tell my students to "Think about the words in the title of the scientist's job - computer scientist. Can you determine what this scientists does based on the job title or name?"


As our science lessons continue, I encourage my students to think big about the possibilities in their lives.  With each science experience and new information, I actually begin to see students internalize the new information about science and the various types of scientists.  My students are using scientific vocabulary.  In fact, they are thinking more like scientists with each lesson. 


Using what they know, my students began to express their understanding of what a computer scientist does in the world of science.


5 minutes

The students view a video shows computer scientists using graphics.  After the video I asks questions about what we have seen.  Also ask my students "What practices do we use in the classroom that are like a computer scientists?"  The students share their answers with their shoulder partner.


I use the same format for each lesson about the various scientists because I believe it helps solidify my students' understanding of the process we are going through.  We are learning about different scientists and they all have daily practices that we are learning to use in kindergarten.




15 minutes

Now that the students know what a computer scientist does, they have an opportunity to experience an aspect of their job.  I think that it would beneficial for students to know what is inside a computer.  Since my school district has adopted the 1:1 Computer Initiative, we have many unused laptop computers in our building.  I tell my students, "I am going to guide you through the inside of a computer.  We will look at the various major components of a computer and label them.  We will do this together."

In this investigation, the goal is to discovery what's inside a computer.  We will use  Kids Online, a website that reveals information about basic computer components. I read the computer component information to them as we locate the various components inside one of our old computers.  The inside of the computer is displayed on the ENO Board as I use the document camera to project the images.


As a class, we locate various computer components and label our computer diagram sheet.






3 minutes


I do not have the expectation that my kindergarteners will master or completely understand what is on the inside of a computer after one lesson.  The idea was to give them exposure to what's on the inside of computer and allow them to see how computer can be used.  The goal was also to help my students develop an interest in computers as we explore the types of scientists that function and work in our world.


Now that the students have labeled their computer diagrams, I say, "Share with your shoulder partner what you have learned about the inside of a computer."  I add,  "You can also share how you could use a computer in a new way from how you currently use the computer."


I tell my students, "We must celebrate what we have learned about computers because it was hard work to learn something new."  We celebrate our drawings and learning by clapping for one another.




2 minutes


This science lesson has been very exciting to my kindergarteners.  In our discussion of what we learned about computer scientists, I say "We learned that computer scientists do many different kinds of jobs.  They are specialize or become experts at certain parts of the job."  


I reiterate the skills of a computer scientists and say, "There are many aspects to doing this job and the next time you use a computer, you can think of new uses for a computer."  I also encouraged my students to think beyond kindergarten and look to their futures.  As usual, I encourage them to consider this field of science as a possible career choice.