I'm old enough that when I was in school, typing class was a mandatory thing. We walked into a room filled with typewriters and learned the fine art of fingering the keys. A few years later, computers started becoming the thing of the future, and the typing room was replaced with rows of computers as we learned programming with MS-Dos and Basic. Since those days, computers have become a part of every day lives and have changed or replaced many of the tasks we perform in our lives. Calendars and datebooks have become digitalized, letters have become email, writing papers are now often written in document editors: computers are a very important part of our world and every day we see technical advances in the areas of computer sciences.
For today's student, understanding the fundamentals of computer science now will provide the foundation to keep up with these advancements in the years ahead. Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook, published by Workman Publishing and written by computer science education expert Grant Smith is the perfect resource to help solidify that foundation.
Part of Workman Publishing's Big Fat Notebook series, Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook has everything the middle school student need to know in order to have a basic foundation in computer science. Students learn about key fundamentals like understanding computer systems to reading and writing with programs such as Scratch, Python, and HTML. This foundation will help in preparing them for today's tech-driven world.
The Big Fat Notebook is filled with key concepts, mnemonic devices, definitions, diagrams, and doodles that present concepts such as binary coding, computational thinking, Boolean expressions and Cybersecurity in a way that really "sinks in" for the reader.
Broken down into 8 units, this notebook hits all major points of computer science and walks the reader through the basics, making it a great recourse to either refresh the readers memory on material they have already learned previously, reinforce the material the student is currently learning in the classroom environment, or it can be used to teach the reader who hasn't taken a computer science course the basics of the class.
Units covered are:
- Computing Systems
- Data and Analysis
- Software Engineering
- Algorithms and Programming
- Universal Programming Principles
- Programming with Scratch
- Programming in Python
- Web Development
Over the course of 566 pages, material is presented to the student through simplified, concise explanations. Check Your Knowledge following each unit reinforces that the student has understood the material before moving on to the next unit.
How We Used It
For this review, we decided to start from the beginning and work our way through the book. Each section is broken up into various lessons which breaks the information into bite size chunks that the kids can easily understand. Each day, following our math lesson, we would go over a lesson together. Lessons would take less than 10 minutes on average and would cover 2-5 pages of the book each day.
At our pace, we have covered the first 10 chapters of the book. Through those chapters, the kids have learned important things such as what is considered computer science, the difference between hardware and software, the difference between input and output, using the engineering design process to improve computer systems, and how user centered designs gather feedback from users to improve the programs and systems being used.
I'm finding the book to be a great overall summary of basic computer science. Maybe you remember picking up the Cliff Notes back in school - this book is basically a Cliff Notes for this topic. It has just enough information for a cram session to get a brief understanding of the basics.
For more information about Workman publishing and their various "fat notebooks", including Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook , be sure to check out their website. You can also find them on the following social media platforms:
Members of the Crew have been using Everything You Need to Ace Computer Science and Coding in One Big Fat Notebook with their families over the last few weeks. Be sure to click the banner below to read their reviews.