About knorth

In 2011 Karen North was a 28-year computer science, math, technology systems and business teacher. She is an officer with ISTE SIGCT and is on the CSTA Committee working on K-8 Model Curriculum. She is currently a Technology Specialist at an elementary school in Houston ISD, allowing her the opportunity to put into practice her CS research on the K-5 level. Ms. North began her advocacy for computing in the 1980s programming BASIC, Logo and the T.I. Calculator in math courses. She also sponsored the recycling club at her school and is chair of the education committee for Keep Houston Beautiful. Retired now still advocating for outdoor and computer science education. See her home site www.build-a-brain.com for her on going advocacy.

Why Art? Why Computer science?

Were Neanderthals Artists?

On Science Friday this segment talked about why finding this Neanderthal art was important.  Why – it showed that these early human could think symbolically, think abstractly.  It is this thinking that separates us from other animals.  I am sitting here thinking and drinking a cup of coffee out of my Einstein mug that says “Logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will get you everywhere.”  That is why we need art and computer science on the same pathway.  Computer Science is a way out of poverty.  It sparks the imagination.  It helps kids build their brains for the future.

Coding in the Arts is empowerment.

Coding in the Arts at HAP

 Conference 2/19/2018
Better Together – Building Community Through the Arts

STEAM into “Computer Science for All” by coding in the arts.

In the ISTE Digital Equity in Computer Science Webinar the leaders said “It takes a creative teacher to make the connection to integrate CS into their content area.”  My solution – ART TEACHERS – who are intrinsically creative.   Thank you for walking into this computational thinking world!

WeTeachCS.org + Houston Arts Partners



  1. Warmup – Binary Bracelets Networking
  2. Fold-a-book
    1. Cover: Your name and write CODE in binary
    2. Page 2: WHY you came to this session.
    3. Page 3: WHAT take-away to you hope to learn.
    4. Page 4 & 5: Mondrian Art Plan
    5. Page 6 & 7: Line Dance Steps with arrows
    6. Back: Circle with Action Item
  3. Programming with graphics modules and video
  4. Mondrian Art examples
  5. Jump into Drawing Mondrian Art with Bootstrap
  6. Pro-Bot ART and Bee-Bot Line Dance– See Lessons in No Fear Code Book
  7. Digital Flower and CS in the Garden
  8. Circle Connections – Action Plan
  9. Home Challenge: Virtual and cut snowflakes, code.org/frozen puzzles
  10. Homework:  Look at unplugged lessons that connect to art, music and dance.

Mondrian Art

Coding Mondrian Art Examples





Details Lessons on the Bee-Bot in the ISTE Book No Fear Code

Pair ProgrammingConnectingNo Fear Coding

Training and Collaboration:

Coding in the Arts STEM Conference

Texas STEM Conference Feb. 2, 2018



  1. Warmup – Binary Bracelets Networking
  2. Fold-a-book
    1. Cover: Your name and write CODE in binary
    2. Page 2: WHY you came to this session.
    3. Page 3: WHAT take-away to you hope to learn.
    4. Page 4 & 5: Mondrian Art Plan
    5. Page 6 & 7: Line Dance Steps with arrows
    6. Back: Circle with Action Item
  3. Programming with graphics modules and video
  4. Mondrian Art
  5. Pro-Bot ART and Bee-Bot Line Dance–  See Lessons in No Fear Code Book
  6. Digital Flower and CS in the Garden
  7. Circle Connections – Action Plan
  8. Home Challenge: Virtual and cut snowflakes, code.org/frozen puzzles

Presentation Links:

  1. Why Code – Why Art
  2. Why Coding in Arts
  3. WeTeachCS 2017 – Activities and Software
  4. Houston Art Partners – Hands-on Activities
  5. Code Math TEKSSee the Code.org Artist



Internationally-known Danish artist and sculptor Jørgen Minor has long been fascinated with using Logo to create art. As he puts it, his work “demonstrates what happens when an artist meets a computer program.” A gallery exhibit entitled “Logo as an Art Machine” of images he created using Logo programs was held in January in Denmark.

Biosphere and Biosquare – demonstrates in a fine way how creativity and simplicity work together. The program is only a few lines long and can be explained to anybody in plain words. The slow motion growth of the Biosphere is surprisingly close to nature.


WHAT CAN YOU DEBUG?  … in your teaching?

Coding in the Arts – Entertainment

Entertainment can inspire thinking – how did they do that?


Bringing musical stars back via hologram – How? It is magic. No it is software and technology and artistry.  1862 Scientist John Pepper designed first process. Thanks to new projection technology, dead performers from the past may be the future of live performance.

Sheeran wrote his own rules – A small act that made it big with file sharingReinvented entertainment industry – Thanks to my fan I made it big. There is a method to his success, write catchy songs about things you know. – I know that place, I have sat on that same beach eating fish and chips and went to the “Castle on the Hill” – Need to get back to London where my son lives. Who helped you most? My friends – file sharing. Did things people said he could never do.


The beautify and science of bubbles. – A bubble is an electrical network that is interdependent. Bubbles are pop stars. Bubbles are important…


CBS Sunday Morning 2012 – Lost art of Automatons alive again– The more you watch it, the more you realize how little you really know.  Hugo with 11 academy awards and my post in 2012. I wonder about the lost art of learning – innovation and creative time. 2018 and classrooms still in the 20th century. Rare curiosities finding modern birth.



Texas STEM Conference

TEXAS STEM CONFERENCE – Galveston Feb. 1-3 2018
2018 STEM Conference Schedule

My WeTeachCS Presentations:

  • STEAM into “Computer Science for All” with WeTeachCS by Coding in the Arts   Friday 1:40
    • STEM builds the roots and stems, but Art adds the flowers. Today with apps using block programming, coding graphics is easy. Participate in activities to create Mondrian art, digital flowers, binary jewelry and a Bee-Bot line dance. With limited time, combining CS skills, math and art can save both time and money, and create a lucrative creative career path; 60% of STEM jobs are computing jobs. We must prepare the every child’s mindset to communicate with computing devices. WeTeachCS can help.
  • WeTeach_CS Computational Thinking Everywhere!
    Friday 4:30

    • Computational thinking (CT) is ingrained in nearly all areas today. For our students, we need to incorporate some or all of the CT knowledge, skills and dispositions into all of our subject areas. You’re already using some of these skills in your lessons – let’s include others to enhance these lessons.


Data Scientist

Twice in a day I am getting data (emails) about data science.  So linking here as best way to collect my ideas.  I posted on this in Dec. 2015 and wonder why all schools are not teaching computer science and computational thinking.

Classroom Management

The Group Knot is a perfect activity to do at the start of the school year to find the leaders in the class.  Make them your partner to help as they will lead the class with positive behavior.  That is one of the top 5 classroom management techniques:

“Find ways to make your hardest kid your favorite kid,” said Karen Yenofsky, turning a nearly perfect phrase and triggering an avalanche of teacher love. “When you connect with them… it makes everything smoother.”

I have been using the Group Knot since I first starting teaching computer science in the 1990’s.  This was when coding used the go-to statement.  Using that caused knots that caused programs to be hard to debug.  That is no longer an option in programming.  But, I found this a wonderful way to discover who the leaders in the class were and guide them to lead to make the class productive.  Also great for leadership training for teachers to build ISTE leader Educator Standards.

I now use it to teach CS Themes: Communication, Creativity, Perseverance, Debugging, and Problem Solving.

In playing this game you will untangle a knot of arms made by a group of friends.
If you are sitting around at a party with the girls on one side and the boys on the other,
this is a fun game to break the ice.

Circle(s) of 8-10 students (larger circles are difficult, but challenging)

Perseverance, organization, listening, cooperative planning

GAMEThe Group Knot — one person reads the directions

  1. Stand in a circle with 8-10 students, HOLD HANDS.
  2. Let go of hands, reach into the circle with your right hand.
  3. Take the right hand of another student.
    — DO NOT take the hand of the person next to you.
    — If an odd number of students, have the person left over take someone�s left hand.
  4. Reach into the circle with your left hand. Take the left hand of another student.
    — DO NOT take the hand of the person you are already holding
    — DO NOT take the hand of the person next to you.
  5. Now get untangled without letting go of the hands you are holding.
    — Stress, DO NOT LET GO. PERSEVERE!!
  6. The result will be a new circle like in step 1.
    — The order will be different and some people may be facing outward.

Computer Science involves understanding programming language concepts and how these are applied to problem solving. The essential elements I want my students to learn in CS are all practiced in the Group Knot:

  • To think
  • To be organized
  • To follow directions
  • To communicate
  • To code a computer program


  1. Could your knot be untangled?
    — Some knots cannot be untangled, but those are rare.
    — Knots can result in a chain.
  2. Did your group persevere and solve the problem?
    Are perseverance and patience essential skills in problem solving?
  3. What happened if you were day dreaming or talking and did not listen to the directions?
  4. Why are organized, specific, descriptive instructions important?
  5. Did one uncooperative person in the group ruin the ability to solve the problem?
  6. If your group gave up and started a new knot, what did you do differently the second time?
  7. Which groups were the fastest?
    Did those groups have a leader who took charge, saw a solution to the problem
    and gave directions to other students on where and how to move to get untangled?
  8. Did you meet a new friend? Would this be a good party game to get people communicating?
  9. What is the relationship of the group knot to the steps in problem solving?

Houston Arts Festival

Arts All Around Festival October 21st


  1. Fold-a-book – Code.org Artist
    1. Planning and Overview of activities
    2. Start with a line: Young LearnerOlder Learner
    3. Then draw shapes: Younger LearnerOlder Learner
    4. Training for Teachers: Rice RUSMP for Info
  2. Mondrian Art
  3. Binary Bracelets– Booklet Cover in Code
  4. Bee-Bot Line Dance
  5. Probot
  6. Extra at home: Cut Snowflakes & code Anna & Elsa – code.org/frozen