Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education



First Advisor

Minsuk Shim


This dissertation presents exploratory research on computational thinking in elementary science classrooms. The research presented here attempts to bring knowledge and awareness of computational thinking in elementary science to elementary teachers, administrators, curriculum developers, researchers, and policy makers by learning about descriptions of CT and the different concepts and approaches involved with it. In addition, this research aims to gain a better understanding of the computational thinking concepts and approaches that are occurring in science classrooms across a northeast state and the different variables that predict integration within instruction. This information will be used to determine the areas of need for future implementation efforts.

Through a close examination of literature on computational thinking integrated in elementary science, survey data, and analysis of work performed by a Design-Based Implementation Research (DBIR) Team this dissertation adds to a growing body of literature regarding the integration of CT into elementary science. Chapter 1 is an introduction to the dissertation. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 are written in manuscript format, and are titled as follows: Chapter 2 is entitled “How is Computational Thinking Defined in Elementary Science?” Chapter 3 is entitled “Predicting Computational Thinking in Elementary Science using a Multilevel Model Approach.” Chapter 4 is entitled “Teacher Practices for CT Implementation in Elementary Science.” Chapter 5 is the conclusion of the major findings from this research, policy implications, limitations, and future recommendations.

Three of the chapters in this dissertation are meant to serve as stand-alone, publishable manuscripts. Each chapter uses a different methodology and analytical framework and offers its own distinct findings. At the same time, each individual manuscript is intended to build upon and is informed by findings from the other manuscripts. Policy implications across the three manuscripts and recommendations for future study are shared.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 17, 2023