CompTIA Spark Curriculum: Tech Skills to Fly You to the Moon

By Scott Campbell

Tech skills are becoming increasingly necessary in almost every job in every industry. In some regards, every business is now a tech company because tech is used by everyone.

CompTIA Spark recognized this and sought to develop an engaging curriculum that introduces middle-grade students to different technologies and the 21st-century skills necessary to use them in the real world. For example, what if it’s 2050, and the moon is now open to tourists? How would you start a company to do that? Of course, a lot of tech skills are necessary to get a spaceship to the moon, but there are also many skills required behind the scenes. The Lunar Cruise Lines unit within the CompTIA Spark Tech Exploration curriculum introduces students to a wide range of skills that could help them get a business off the ground.

The lessons help the students learn how to use digital tools to stay organized and complete tasks and understand the role that data, marketing, software development, and 3D modeling have in a business environment.

The goal, according to Kim Acosta, senior manager of curriculum development at CompTIA Spark, is to introduce students to skills and job descriptions they may not have considered or even known about.

“It’s all about starting the first company to take tourists to the moon. We begin with creating the name of the company and designing a logo—learning those digital skills but also the business skills about what makes a good company name and logo,” Acosta said.

Meeting Students at Their Level

Each of the five lessons in the unit breaks down all the steps necessary and offers instructional videos that students can watch, pause, and replay.

“The lessons are designed to free teachers up to be facilitators. We’re giving them that instruction piece, so the teacher does not have to tell students what to do,” said Acosta, who taught math and engineering for 13 years.

Students learn how to program a flight path, create some simple coding, and how to sort and filter data. “For example, they need to find a good captain for their ship. So, they’re doing a data lookup, data analysis on what makes a good candidate for different potential captains with ratings, reviews, salary requirements,” Acosta said. “Then they make a digital advertisement for their company that ties it all together, including the name of the company, logo, personas to target, and more.”

Students are exposed to several different applications and tools with the goal of finding something they may want to continue later.

“Maybe they liked coding or 3D design. A graph will pop up with different careers based on what they like with more information about jobs with those skills,” Acosta said. “One of the things we tell teachers and students is that you may not want to be an engineer, but Tinkercad has so many embedded skills  like grouping objects together that is a universal skill that’s helpful to know.”

Learning More Than Tech Skills

In addition to introducing students to different tech tools, they also learn to develop durable or soft skills that will be in demand in the future. The Lunar Cruise Lines unit emphasizes collaboration, teaching students how to work together on projects to achieve success.

“No matter what job you have, you must be able to communicate to problem solve. That’s what employees are really looking for,” Acosta said. All our Tech Exploration units highlight creativity, innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving as well as flexibility, communication, and self-direction.”

Giving students opportunities to learn about these tools and skills in the middle grades is critical because students are starting to choose career pathways.

“If you’ve never been exposed to these things, you really don’t know if you like them or not or if you’re good at it,” Acosta said. “I love it when I hear that students who do not think they would enjoy it or be good at it find out that they do love it and that they are good at it. You just don’t know until you’ve done it, and the earlier, the better, because once they get into high school, they start to select from a list of pathways from the prior knowledge they have. In most cases, they don’t have all the information they need to make that choice. That’s where CompTIA Spark can help.”

Learn more about the CompTIA Spark Tech Exploration and Emerging Tech curriculum units.