Teaching Computer Science

Mark Burkholz



Mark Burkholz is currently a computer science and mathematics teacher at Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA. He was also the Director of Technology at Lawrence Academy from 1993-2020.  A former New York City public school teacher (1974–84) and software engineer at AT&T’s Bell Labs (1984–91), Mark has been teaching AP, Honors and Regular computer science since 1991 in addition to teaching mathematics courses. 

Mark’s interests include Karate, Zen, snowboarding, kayaking, and hiking. Mark and his wife Sheara Friend, a well-known domestic relations lawyer with offices in Concord, MA,  have 2 sons and live in Groton, MA.

The Course 

This upper-level year-long course is student-centered and project-based and includes a significant amount of work. It is personalized to each student’s needs and desires. Each week, students are expected to complete a programming assignment in addition to their daily homework. Students learn how to code using the programming language Java. Students learn all of the basic concepts of object-oriented programming while learning problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms) and analysis of potential solutions.

This course will be taught remotely using Zoom with possible face-to-face meetings, if circumstances permit. Students do not need any prior experience in coding.


Coding not only develops student’s compositional thinking skills (the ability to break a large project into its smallest components) but also helps students develop their ability to focus on the smallest details. This combination of developing student’s ability to solve complex problems along with developing their ability to focus on the smallest aspects of each program can profoundly affect students across all disciplines.