Sociomathematical Norms for Integrating Coding and Modeling with Elementary Science: A Dialogical Approach


In recent years, the field of education has challenged researchers and practitioners to incorporate computing as an essential focus of K-12 STEM education. Integrating computing within K-12 STEM supports learners of all ages in codeveloping and using computational thinking in existing curricular contexts alongside practices essential for developing mathematical and scientific expertise. In this paper, we present findings from a design-based, microgenetic study in which an agent-based programming and computational modeling platform—ViMAP—was integrated with existing elementary science and math curricula through lessons co-designed and taught by the classroom teacher across a period of seven months. We present a dialogical re-positioning of coding, where disciplinarily grounded meanings of code emerge through the construction of computational utterances––i.e., computer models as well as complementary conversations and physical models that serve as mathematical and scientific explanations––through the use of socio-mathematical norms.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Cherifa Ghassoul, Emily Brutcher and Leah Embry.


This project was partially supported by US National Science Foundation (NSF CAREER Award #1150230) and funds from the Imperial Foundation (Canada).

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Correspondence to Amanda Catherine Dickes.

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Dickes, A.C., Farris, A.V. & Sengupta, P. Sociomathematical Norms for Integrating Coding and Modeling with Elementary Science: A Dialogical Approach. J Sci Educ Technol 29, 35–52 (2020).

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  • Coding
  • Modeling
  • Elementary science
  • Computational thinking
  • Sociomathematical norms
  • Science education