K-12 Resources

The Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign takes great pride in our role in educating computer scientists who change our world by doing things that were thought impossible.

Computer Science underpins just about every aspect of modern life: the arts, science, business, medicine, and engineering. These skills are highly sought-after in industry and academia and result in many lucrative, impactful, and fulfilling career opportunities.

We have assembled this list of local and national resources and activities to help encourage youth and family engagement in computing (also available in PDF):

Department of Computer Science

Illinois Computer Science has developed a series of outreach programs targeted especially for our local community to raise awareness about and interest in CS, including the ChicTech Retreat, Girls Who Code, the Gems Computer Science Camp for Girls, 4-H Computer Connections, and Sail. The department also participates the National Center for Women & Information Technology Aspirations in Computing Program. For more, see cs.illinois.edu/engage/k-12-outreach.

College of Engineering

Engineering Open House

This annual student-run event brings students and families to campus to learn first-hand about exciting opportunities in Engineering, including CS.

WYSE Summer Camps at Engineering Illinois 

Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering camps are designed to provide STEM-interested students the opportunity to experience advanced curricula, world-class facilities, and an “away from home,” collegiate
experience at one of the best engineering schools in the nation and the world.

University of Illinois Extension 4-H Academies

Computer Science Academy: Learn to program with this introduction to programming with Scratch! In this academy, we'll use the Scratch programming environment, which is aimed at beginners, but powerful enough to keep even seasoned programmers engaged and entertained. After learning basic techniques you'll design projects of your own choosing - computer games, animated stories, interactive programs - limited only by your own imagination. The software used is free and runs in any web browser, so you'll be able to continue your projects, and create new ones, after the academy is over.

Mathematics, Science, & Technology Education (MSTE), College of Education


Comprised of K-12 school practitioners, community members, entrepreneurs, plus Illinois faculty & staff, this group discusses CS in the K-12 schools as well as support and research for schoolbased implementation of computational thinking.

National Organizations

Code.org | grades K–12

Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. They believe computer science should be part of core curriculum, alonside other courses such as biology, chemistry or algebra. Please visit their site to access their free curriculum, workshops, tools, and engage in their programs.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology

NCWIT is a non-profit community of more than 600 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT provides resources for recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K-12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.

Computer Science Curriculum Resources

Codecademy | grades 9–12

Classes for learning JavaScript, Java, Python, Ruby, and HTML/CSS.

Hopscotch | grades 3–12

IOS application used to design games and share them.

Khan Academy | grades 6–12

JavaScript and HTML/CSS video tutorials and challenges. Range from drawing basic shapes to making interactive webpages. Gives students the tools to make games, animations and webpages.

Lightbot | grades 4–12

Students lead a robot through a series of puzzles while learning programming principles.

Scratch | grades K–12

Students build their own games and animations with colored code blocks. Step by step tutorials. Students can create teams and work on projects together. Lots of examples of other people’s projects.

Tynker | grades K–8

Variety of activities based on the student’s interests and age.

Club Support

Google CS First | grades K–12

Plans for a variety of CS clubs each with a different focus. Includes activity plans.

Girls Who Code

Nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors.

Additional Resources

Makey Makey | all ages, hardware

Fab Lab | all ages, local community resource

Articles on Computer Science Curriculum

“Coding in the Classroom: A Long-Overdue Inclusion” — edutopia.org/blog/coding-classroom-long-overdueinclusion-merle-huerta

“15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer)” — edutopia.org/blog/15-ways-teachingstudents-coding-vicki-davis

“Add Coding to Your Elementary Curriculum . . . Right Now” — edutopia.org/blog/add-coding-elementarycurriculum-now-matt-harrell

“Create a Family Coding Day for Hour of Code” — edutopia.org/blog/family-coding-day-hour-of-code-sampatterson

If you have questions or want to learn more about these resources, please email cs-outreach@illinois.edu