Working Definitions


Binary or Boolean expression


The Cloud – a network of computer servers that remotely deliver data or services (via the Internet)


Compile – translate pseudo code (e.g., text or block based code) into machine code (zero’s and one’s)

Compound Machine – an apparatus made of two or more simple machines in a series

Computational Thinking

Computer – a calculating machine

Debug – search for something in a system that prevents the system from working as expected (e.g., a coding error); the phrase comes from an incident in which a physical insect was preventing a machine from working properly, and the bug had to be found and removed for the system to work


Engineering Design Process (EDP) – an iterative cycling process through which engineers design, prototype, test, and then redesign the things that make our world work

Graphical User Interface (GUI) – a visual language for interacting with (including programming) a computer [Scratch is a GUI, so is the downloadable LEGO Mindstorms software]


Integrated Development Environment (IDE) – an environment containing all that one needs to write or develop a computer program (typically a compiler or interpreter and a debugger)

Interface – the junction point where two entities (e.g., a computer and a person) meet and interact

Internet – a global network of computers

Internet Protocol (IP) – the set of rules governing the format of data sent over the Internet (for example, your computer has at least one IP address, maybe more!)

Internet of Things (IoT) – the connection of common objects (for example, a refrigerator or outdoor light bulb) to computer devices, via the Internet, allowing objects to receive and share data (to become “smart objects”) with other objects and computers anywhere in the world

Iterative – something that has repeated steps

Machine – an apparatus capable of applying leverage

Motor – a robotics component that revolves when instructed to do so by a program

Program – a set of instructions that a computer understands (noun); to create a set of instructions that a computer understands (verb)

Prototype – a prototype is a model built for the sake of testing a design, with the assumption that one will later redesign and rebuild (a prototype is like an early draft of writing)

Prototyping Mindset – a mindset in which one is willing to take risks, make mistakes and accidental discoveries (because the artifact one is developing is always, potentially, not a finished product but another prototype)

Robot – a machine that is driven by a computer

Sensor – a robotics component that receives or interprets data from the world

Smart Objects – physical objects that have an embedded IP (Internet Protocol) address, enabling them to send and receive data through the Internet