As a follow up to an earlier post, I’d like to present some more resources for computer science teachers. Some are directly involving programming and some are more generally related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. STEM programs are designed to get more students excited and interested in careers in those areas. The programs I list here are heavy in the TE – Technology and Engineering – piece. But there is enough science and math for everyone here.

Kids Programming Language – Kid’s Programming language or KPL is and easy and fun programming language for beginners. KPL is a free educational program developed by Morrison Schwartz, a software development and consulting company. There is also a growing community of users. It’s quite the cool thing. In fact, the Coding 4 Fun web site has a start up programming project for KPL that shows how to create and old-fashioned Pong game. Oh, and if you want to go on to other programming languages KPL will generate Visual Basic .NET or C# code from a KPL project! It’s a great way to demonstrate how concepts translate across programming languages.

FIRST Robotics – FIRST Robotics is a major, international robotics competition for high school students. For the past several competitions the robot has had to operate autonomously which means someone has to program it. It’s just the thing for someone who is thinking about computer engineering or embedded systems programming.

FIRST Lego League – FLL is a smaller robotics competition for middle school students. This one really involves a lot of programming but the robots are much simpler than the FIRST Robotics robots for high schools. I’ve seen a lot of participation by girls on these teams locally. A great way to get boys and girls an early start programming and thinking about engineering.

InvenTeams – The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams program provides grants to high schools with projects in mind around inventions. Funded by the Lemelson Foundation, InventTeams Mission (from their web site):

  • EXCITE high school students about science, math, engineering, entrepreneurship and invention
  • EMPOWER students through problem-solving
  • ENCOURAGE a sustainable culture of invention in schools and communities