Session Descriptions and Additional Resources

Question Writing for AP CSA and AP CSP (Danny Klag)
Assessments are used for a variety of purposes, both inside and outside the classroom. To make the most of these assessments, it is essential that test writers (including classroom teachers) follow best practices to ensure the fairness and validity of their tests. In this session, we will share some best practices for measuring student knowledge and skills in computer science. 

Puzzle-Based Learning (Ed Meyer)
Dr. Meyer will begin with an exploration into the evolution of the human brain and how our species developed problem solving skills.  He will discuss some of the vestigial features of the human brain that can actually prevent your students from reaching the level of deep thought needed to solve challenging problems. Following this he will briefly discuss the importance of developing problem solving skills in young people.  The main part of his presentation will be a problem-solving workshop in which he goes over some problem-solving strategies with many examples that can be used in the classroom.  Finally, he will present numerous ideas for infusing problem solving throughout the school.

Problem Solving Talk

Family Problem Solving Night

Introduction to Bootstrap (Adam Newall)
Adam will present the Bootstrap curriculum as an introduction to the curriculum by highlighting the key points and concepts as they relate to math.  Bootstrap is unique from other programming curriculums because of the direct connections between algebra and real-world programming skills.  These experiences are concrete and tangible for students, with the added benefit that the verbiage and experience carry back into the math classroom.  Bootstrap is an incredibly powerful curriculum for CS teachers and math teachers alike.  

We Want CS! How Should We Do It? – CS in Grades 5-8 (Bobby Oommen)
Middle schools across the country are beginning to add CS into the curriculum, but …how? What is the best approach? This workshop will tell the story of one school’s journey into incorporating CS into their middle school, but also provide a place for participants to share from their experiences with CS from their school, ask questions of their colleagues, and have discussions around best practices. Participants will leave with a better understanding of what will work best in their school setting as it relates to CS implementation tools, curriculum, and other resources.

Let’s Hack! Planning and Executing a Middle School Hackathon (Bobby Oommen)
One of the best ways to get students, faculty, community, and parents involved in your CS initiatives is to host a hackathon. Wait, what’s a hackathon?  How can I plan one if I don’t have the expertise or background? In this workshop, participants will not only learn about the practical aspects of executing a school wide hackathon, but will be participants themselves in our very own conference hackathon!



Python Unleashed – Python Bootcamp (Lars Sorensen & Caroline Segreto)
In this day long Python bootcamp we spend the first half of the day reviewing the basics of the Python programming language.  We will review simple data and decision making, sequences such as strings and lists, looping and iteration and modularity with functions and libraries.  In the second half of the day we review a gaming course developed for Brick Township High School and show how a high school programming course can integrate gaming while the students learn Python.

Lars’ Python Page

Lars’ Python Course

Caroline’s Class Resources



Al Sweigart’s Making Games with Python

Integrating CSTA Standards into Middle School – NYC way! (Michael Preston)
Computer science education is expanding rapidly in K-12. With this expansion comes new curriculum and new models of how to teach computer science in schools. The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) has the only national standards for CS education available today. These standards offer a glimpse into how computing can be used in schools. Drawing on examples from NYC public schools and the CSforAll Consortium, Dr. DeLyser will offer a landscape of middle school computer science, and highlight examples of integrating CS content into 6-8 classrooms.

CS for All

Introduction to Arduinos, Coding and Electronics (Michael Cappiello)
Dive into the world of computer programming using the Arduino Uno controller and learn how to engage your students in fun and interactive programming activities.  Participants in the workshop will not only learn the Arduino programming language structure, but also how to design authentic and meaningful projects for their students.  All participants will work with various electrical hardware in a hands-on setting.  Personal laptops are recommended.

Arduino talk

Arduino Programming Language

Electronics Resource Packet

SEVEN Big Ideas rolled into ONE map activity (Fran Trees)
A Google Map activity that ties together the seven big ideas of AP Computer Science Principles and scaffolds the Create Performance Task. Even if you do not teach CSP, the activity is a great way to integrate abstraction and data into your programming class!

Fran’s Welcome talk on Day One!!

Seven Big Ideas

Turn Everyday Objects into touchpads with Makey Makey (Mayra Bachrach)
Learn how to combine the Makey Makey invention kit and Scratch to engage students in creating fun interactive digital projects.  Using the Makey Makey, a Banana, Play-Doh, Aluminum Foil, Coins and other every day materials can be used as an input device (such as a keyboard) to a Scratch project.  No prior knowledge of Scratch or the Makey Makey is required.  The basics of Scratch needed to create projects using the Makey Makey will be explained.  A laptop is required for this session.

Make Code for MicroBit (Chinma Uche)

The session will introduce participants to the Micro:Bit which is a pocket-sized computer for bringing digital ideas, games and apps to life.  Participants will have hands on experience of the Micro:bit and share ideas on how to implement Micro:Bit in the classroom.  The session promises to be fun,  educational and impactful.


Next Steps (Daryl Detrick)
2017 has been a good year for computer science education in New Jersey. Was it good enough to make NJ a leader in CS education?  Find out what is happening with legislation, NJDOE, standards, teaching endorsement and CSforALL in NJ.

Daryl’s Talk


CS Without Computers: CS Unplugged! (Fran Trees)
Separated from the tech of computers, CS Unplugged teaches students computational thinking using games and puzzles.  With string, cards and other simple items, CS Unplugged activities can start students of any age to begin thinking about solving problems the way computers do without the computer getting in the way!  

Marshmallow Challenge