Computational Thinking Integration Patterns Along the Framework Defining Computational Thinking from a Disciplinary Perspective

  • Irene LeeEmail author
  • Joyce Malyn-Smith


This paper describes analyses of the K–12 computational thinking (CT) integration activities collected at two NSF-funded workshops, “Developing an Interdisciplinary Framework for Integrating Computational Thinking in K–12 Science, Mathematics, Technology, and Engineering Education,” held in August and November of 2017 at Education Development Center, Inc., in Waltham, Massachusetts. The workshops convened a working group of principal investigators, researchers, and educators from the National Science Foundation (NSF) ITEST (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers) and STEM + C (STEM + Computing) funded projects to draft an interdisciplinary framework for integrating CT into K–12 education. The goal of this paper is to share that framework and our findings on promising learning progressions, gaps that exist in the collected set of activities, specific advances in STEM fields that were made possible through CT, and suggested ways that CT integration in K-12 can evolve to reach what the CT integration framework proposes as five “computational thinking integration elements” or “CTIEs”. This framework is designed to help educators see ways to engage students in CT within disciplinary learning. The analyses and findings may benefit STEM and computing education fields by elucidating the target of CT as used within CT-integrated STEM fields.


Computational thinking Integration of CT STEM fields Disciplinary learning 



We’d like to thank the participants in the two workshops on “Developing an Interdisciplinary Framework for Integrating Computational Thinking in K–12 Science, Mathematics, Technology, and Engineering Education” for their contributions of activities and discussion surrounding CT integration. This work would not have been possible without their willingness to share activities and insights.


The study was funded by the National Science Foundation (grant number 1647018).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards as articulated in the 1979 Belmont Report and as reviewed by the Institutional Review Board at Education Development Center, Inc. (Registration No. 00000865). This research was determined to be exempt by the IRB under Section 101(b), paragraph 1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Education Development CenterWalthamUSA

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