Characterizing computational thinking in high school science

Hillary Swanson, Golnaz Arastoopour Irgens, Connor Bain, Kevin Hall, Philip Woods, Carson Rogge, Michael Horn, Uri Wilensky

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study identifies high school students’ computational thinking practices in the context of science, technology, engineering, and math (CT-STEM practices) and the relationships between their practices-in-use. More specifically, we explore the CT-STEM practices that emerged as a result of students’ participation in a two-day biology lesson featuring the exploration of a computational model on predator-prey dynamics. Digitally recorded data were taken from seventy-six students across four classes of one teacher. By applying a grounded analysis to students’ written responses to two different assessment items embedded within the lesson, we found four CT-STEM practices related to identifying a model’s limitations and eight practices related to exploring the model. Applying a network analysis to responses coded for these practices, we found networks representing common patterns of practices-in-use. This work identifies the informal CT-STEM practices that students bring to their learning and models combinations of practices-in-use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-878
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS
Issue number2018-June
StatePublished - 2018
Event13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2018: Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age: Making the Learning Sciences Count - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 23 2018Jun 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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