Teaching programming to children and teachers

(Daniel Bechaz) #21

I’m still a student but I tend to teach others when I feel confident enough in a subject.

The best way to teach something I find, an idea or technique, is to solve a problem without it where it is suited.

For instance “Why do we have arrays? Write some code without arrays and see how much easier it is with arrays.” or “Why do we have recursion? Try to implement something which can not be expressed in a loop in a loop first, then recursion.”

I find this useful because whenever we invent a new concept or technique we do it to solve a problem we couldn’t solve easily before, that’s the “why” and it makes it very clear when you try to learn it this way.

(Stephen Ball) #22

yeah, this is very true. i’ve seen children move characters around a screen in scratch by clicking togther 20 blocks that say “move 10 pixels”, “turn 10 degrees”, “move 10 pixels”, “turn 10 degrees” and so on. they need to have the experience of trying to solve a problem for that’s theirs before you can go “ok, so there’s this block called “repeat”. it’s going to blow your mind.” if you just try to teach iteration first, most children will just look at you and think “yeah, that’s great, but why would i ever need that?”

(Charles Rosenbauer) #23

I haven’t paid too much attention to this topic (I’ve been a bit busy), but I’m thinking I should read through all this when I get the time; I have some younger siblings who I’m trying to get to learn programming.

After hearing about this book, I bought a couple copies. They arrived today. My little brother (10 years old) thinks its cute, but he’s too busy playing video games to read it. My little sister (8 years old) was really intimidated by the length of the book, but I convinced her to start and now she loves it. I can hear her reading it in the other room. My parents might be less enthusiastic though, since it’s after her bedtime. Thanks for the recommendation!

(Dave Butt) #24

I bought my kids http://www.robotturtles.com/ for Christmas, they’re 5 and 3. We’ve played once so far and the older one grasped the concepts of planning a route and issuing the right commands pretty quickly. It introduces the concept of a bug… if you make a mistake you can shout “bug” and undo your last command, which I thought was quite an interesting way of introducing it. The key point for me was that it doesn’t require the child to be able to read to play it, which lots of other introductory ideas seem to miss.

I’ve got lego mindstorms and Lego now do https://education.lego.com/en-gb/product/wedo-2 which is a for younger kids than Mindstorms… looks quite cool. Looking forward to designing and building a robot to do something or other with them.