What is Computer Science

boy and dad sequencing
CS students with robots
two girls using beebot

Computer science is a broad and interdisciplinary field that draws from mathematics, engineering, physics and other related disciplines. It includes areas such as artificial intelligence, computer graphics, cryptography, database systems, human-computer interaction, programming languages and software engineering. 

The Minnesota Department of Education states “Computer science is the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, hardware and software designs, implementation, and impact on society. Computer science education should focus on teaching students how to think computationally and create new technologies, not simply use technology.”

Computer science involves creative problem-solving through the presentation of real-world issues. Students are encouraged to think outside the box to identify problems and create innovative solutions to real-world problems while also building skills to prepare them for a computing-driven future.

In Bloomington Public Schools we encourage and promote creative computational thinking through: 

  • Problem-solving
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Innovation
  • Collaboration
  • Exploration 

CS in Elementary 

At the elementary level, we define computer science as using the power of computers to solve problems and express ourselves.

During these early, informative years, computer science education strives to foster the development of critical thought processes and mindsets that will enable students to be successful in computer science and beyond. These skills are called computational thinking skills and include concepts such as problem decomposition and algorithm design while also including practices such as collaboration and debugging.

Computer Science is More Than Coding

Computer science is not just about building computers or writing computer programs (we call this programming or coding). Did you know that much of computer science education is “unplugged”, meaning taught without a screen? The study of computer science includes understanding technology’s impacts on society and being able to formulate both problems and solutions in ways that a computer can process. The majority of problems in computer science can be solved with just a pencil and paper!

CS in Middle and High School

At the secondary level, we continue to foster computational thinking skills while also shifting to a more technical definition of computer science. For grades 6-12, we define computer science as the study of computers and algorithmic processes, including their principles, hardware and software designs, implementation, and the impact on society.