Basic glossary


Pulling out specific differences to make one solution work for multiple problems.


A list of steps to finish a task. A set of instructions that can be performed with or without a computer. For example, the collection of steps to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is an algorithm.


A way of representing information using only two options.

block-based programming language

Any programming language that lets users create programs by manipulating “blocks” or graphical programing elements, rather than writing code using text. Examples include Code Studio, Scratch, Blockly, and Swift. (Sometimes called visual coding, drag and drop programming, or graphical programming blocks)


The visual programming language used in’s online learning system for K-5 students.


An error in a program that prevents the program from running as expected.

call (a function)

This is the piece of code that you add to a program to indicate that the program should run the code inside a function at a certain time.


One or more commands or algorithm(s) designed to be carried out by a computer. See also: program


An instruction for the computer. Many commands put together make up algorithms and computer programs.

computational thinking

Mental processes and strategies that include: decomposition, pattern matching, abstraction, algorithms (decomposing problems into smaller, more manageable problems, finding repeating patterns, abstracting specific differences to make one solution work for multiple problems, and creating step-by-step algorithms).

computer science

Using the power of computers to solve problems.


Statements that only run under certain conditions or situations.


Getting help from a large group of people to finish something faster.


Information. Often, quantities, characters, or symbols that are the inputs and outputs of computer programs.


Finding and fixing errors in programs.


Break a problem down into smaller pieces.

define (a function)

To add code inside a function so that the program knows what it is supposed to do when the function is called.

digital citizen

Someone who acts safely, responsibly, and respectfully online.

digital footprint

The information about someone on the Internet.

DNS (domain name service)

The service that translates URLs to IP addresses.


A method of sending information using telephone or television cables.


An action that causes something to happen.


A monitor for a specific event or action on a computer. When you write code for an event handler, it will be executed every time that event or action occurs. Many event-handlers respond to human actions such as mouse clicks.

fiber optic cable

A connection that uses light to transmit information.

for loop

A loop with a predetermined beginning, end, and increment (step interval).


A piece of code that you can easily call over and over again. Functions are sometimes called ‘procedures.’ A function definition is a segment of code that includes the steps performed in the function. A function call is the code segment, typically within the main logic of the program, which invokes the function.

function call

The piece of code that you add to a program to indicate that the program should run the code inside a function at a certain time.

function definition

The code inside a function that instructs the program on what to do when the function is called.


A group of computers and servers that are connected to each other.

IP address

A number assigned to any item that is connected to the Internet.


A repetitive action or command typically created with programming loops.


The action of doing something over and over again.


Small chunks of information that have been carefully formed from larger chunks of information.

pattern matching

Finding similarities between things.


An extra piece of information that you pass to the function to customize it for a specific need.


Trying again and again, even when something is very hard.


An algorithm that has been coded into something that can be run by a machine.


The art of creating a program.

run program

Cause the computer to execute the commands you’ve written in your program.


Computers that exist only to provide things to others.


The tall grey bar in the middle section of’s online learning system that contains all of the commands you can use to write your program.

URL (universal resource locator)

A relatively easy-to-remember address for calling a web page (like


A name you make up so that you can see or do things on a website, sometimes called a “screen name.”


A placeholder for a piece of information that can change.


A wireless method of sending information using radio waves.


The white area on the right side of’s online learning system where you drag and drop commands to build your program.

via, image.

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