Computer Science and Engineering
Computer Science and Engineering are critical elements within our STEAM initiative. For Middleburg Academy, STEAM is a verb; it is all about action in learning, where student ideas become reality. The essence of STEAM is an atmosphere that provokes each student’s curiosity. We live in an integrated world where problems are more functionally intertwined than ever before. We want to prepare Middleburg Academy graduates for this complex, challenging world. Future leaders will be those graduates who acquire the skills we are developing in our STEAM Curriculum.
Computer Science and Engineering at Middleburg Academy (MA) curriculum is designed to develop 21st century skills. Project Lead The Way (PLTW) activities largely comprise the MA curriculum. Critical thinking develops quickly and deeper in an inquiry-based learning environment. MA faculty support students as they initially grapple with activities that are scripted. Students then progress into a project with more autonomy utilizing their newly acquired skills and peer collaboration that quickly becomes an element of success. Finally, students tackle a self-defined real world; one that captures the essence the content area. This experience enables their full creative energy to be engaged. In each step in the curriculum, students must communicate to sell their ideas to their peer programmer and each activity has a written deliverable also.
Project Lead the Way Introduction to Computer Science
Grade Level: 8, 9 (required) or 10
Length: Semester (Fall or Spring)
Introduction to Computer Science (ICS)– This class is designed for students who have never programmed before. Students explore new skills and concepts in guided activities, and project, problem (APB) based PLTW learning model. Students work in teams to create apps for mobile devices using MIT App Inventor®. They explore the impact of computing in society and build skills in digital citizenship and cyber security. Beyond learning the fundamentals of programming, students build computational thinking skills by applying computer science to collaboration tools, modeling and simulation, and data analysis. In addition, students transfer the understanding of programming gained in App Inventor to text-based programming in Python® and apply their knowledge to create algorithms for games of chance and strategy.
Project Lead the Way Computer Science and Software Engineering
Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
Using Python® as a primary tool and incorporating multiple platforms and languages for computation, this course aims to develop computational thinking, generate excitement about career paths that utilize computing, and introduce professional tools that foster creativity and collaboration. This course can be a student's first course in computer science, although we encourage students without prior computing experience to start with Introduction to Computer Science. CSE helps students develop programming expertise and explore the workings of the Internet. Projects and problems include app development, visualization of data, cybersecurity, and simulation.
AP Computer Science A
Grade Level: 11 or 12
Prerequisite: Completion of Computer Science & Software Engineering and Departmental Recommendation
The AP Computer Science A course is an introductory course in computer science. Because the design and implementation of computer programs to solve problems involve skills that are fundamental to the study of computer science, a large part of the course is built around the development of computer programs that correctly solve a given problem. These programs should be understandable, adaptable, and, when appropriate, reusable. At the same time, the design and implementation of computer programs is used as a context for introducing other important aspects of computer science, including the development and analysis of algorithms, the development and use of fundamental data structures, the study of standard algorithms and typical applications, and the use of logic and formal methods. In addition, the responsible use of these systems is an integral part of the course.
The essence of engineering is solving problems that make things better for society. So the MA engineering curriculum reflects that emphasis on framing problems and pursuing solutions. Students learn quickly that framing the problem efficiently is just as important as designing the solution. Students work in areas of their own interest while guided by a structured engineering curriculum .
Project Lead the Way Introduction to Engineering Design
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects. They work both individually and in teams to design solutions to a variety of problems using 3D modeling software, and use an engineering notebook to document their work.
Advanced Engineering Design
Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
Prerequisite: Introduction to Engineering Design
Advanced Engineering Design – This course expands and builds on the skills developed in the Introduction to Engineering Design course. Students tackle larger projects designed around their interests and the potential benefit to the school community. 3D Design challenges are pursued expanding the student’s modeling capabilities in AutoDesk Inventor software. As future entrepreneurs, students develop design briefings, business plans, project presentations to support their technical solutions. The class will pursue at least one major high school design competition during the year.