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PLTW: Computer Science

What Is Computer Science?

Computer science is much more than just learning a programming language; it is about creating solutions and value for others. In essence, computer science is simply a way of thinking and the practices that guide people in developing computer-related solutions. Whether you are creating a game or animation for artistic expression, developing a website to support a business, or attempting to solve a problem with a computing device, the systematic and iterative approaches are the same.

In Computer Science Essentials you will create programs:
  • For creative and artistic expression (Creativity)
  • That solve problems you identify (Problem Solving)
  • And innovations that have value to others (Innovation or Entrepreneurial Intent)
  • Regardless of what type of outcome you are targeting with your project or problem, the processes by which you will develop are the same. At the heart of computer science are the practices of collaboration, communication, iteration, and creativity. 

    Essentials is the intro level course for the computer science program. SCHS also offers Cybersecurity and AP Computer Science Principles(Python) and Computer Science A(Java).


  • Computer Science Essentials
    • Students will experience the major topics, big ideas, and computational thinking practices used by computing professionals to solve problems and create value for others. This course will empower students to develop computational thinking skills while building confidence that prepares them to advance to Computer Science Principles and Computer Science A.
  • Computer Science Principles
    • Using Python® as a primary tool, students explore and become inspired by career paths that utilize computing, discover tools that foster creativity and collaboration, and use what they’ve learned to tackle challenges like app development and simulation. This course is endorsed by the College Board, giving students the opportunity to take the AP Computer Science Principles exam for college credit.
  • Computer Science A 
    • Students cultivate their understanding of coding through analyzing, writing, and testing code as they explore concepts like modularity, variables, and control structures. This course is endorsed by the College Board, giving students the opportunity to take the AP Computer Science Principles exam for college credit.
  • Cybersecurity
    • PLTW Cybersecurity is a full-year course implemented in 10th grade or above that exposes high school students to the many aspects of digital and information security, while encouraging socially responsible choices and ethical behavior. It inspires algorithmic thinking, computational thinking, and especially, “outside-the-box” thinking. Students explore the many educational and career paths available to cybersecurity experts, as well as other careers that comprise the field of information security. Whether seeking a career in the emerging field of cybersecurity or learning to defend their own personal data or a company’s data, students in PLTW Cybersecurity establish an ethical code of conduct while learning to defend data in today’s complex cyberworld.

Is CSE the right class for me?

Whether this is your first computer science class or you already have some experiences with programming, Computer Science Essentials is intended to be a great place for new learners to start and for those with prior knowledge to continue their exploration.

Opportunities at Silver Creek

  •  Hands on experience using coding to solve real world issues
  •  Meet/Hear from individuals who are in a computer science profession.
  • Partnership with local companies for tours, job shadowing, internships, and product creation.
  • Students are able to develop an app and learn about computer programming.
  • Certifications that will help you in the computer science field.

What will I be doing in Unit 1?

App Creation

Computing technology has been radically changing the way people live for a many decades. From the creation of personal computers and cell phones to the rise of the internet, technology has transformed our lives and connected people across the globe.

In particular, the use and connectivity of personal devices through the internet has revolutionized the way people live, work, learn, play, and communicate. Today people across the globe have access to personal computing devices in the palm of their hands. 

The ability to create mobile applications, or apps, is a powerful skill that allows solutions and innovations never before possible. Computer scientists collaborate within teams to design the apps’ graphics and features. In this unit, you will explore how apps work and you will learn how to design and develop apps. By the end of the unit, you will create an app of your own design from scratch, just like a computer scientist! 

What will I be doing in later units?

After learning to apply the essential concepts and practice of computer science though app creation, you will apply those skills to explore other innovations in computer science that are changing our world, such as self-driving vehicles and image processing advances. You will explore the similarities and differences in app creation. Finally, you will work within a team to create something you are interested in, whether for creative expression or trying to solve a problem you identify.