Computer Science (CS) Unplugged is an outreach program designed to introduce several key concepts of computational thinking. The original CS Unplugged activities, developed by Tim Bell at University of Canterbury, use a hands-on approach through games, puzzles, magic tricks, and competitions to teach computer science concepts without the use of a computer. The activities are designed to engage students and serve as a vehicle to learn the foundations of computing without the complication of using the computer. We have created a set of lesson plans for teachers to use in middle school classrooms. These are also available from NCWIT as Computer Science-in-a-Box: Unplug your Curriculum.
It is necessary to appeal to a broad student base, regardless of any self-selected perceptions of what it takes to be “good at computing.” Integrating CS Unplugged activities into the K-12 classroom gives students a core understanding of computational concepts and provides a different perspective to inspire them.
CS Unplugged activities can be used within the K-12 Computer Science Framework. This curriculum includes several CS Unplugged activities.