Computational thinking for young learners


When you going to start to learn about programming (computational thinking) and to code with young learners, you have to break it down to make it understandable for them.

Here is how I use to do, when I´m working with programming with young leaners. The goal is to understand how a code is structured, what it communicates and how to influence it. But most of all it is a great opportunity  to challenge the kids logical thinking.

1.  Start by creating arrows of any physical material such as paper that you laminate or wood pieces. Let the kids  be involved in this process. It´s an excellent opportunity to practice prepositions and craftwork.

2. After that you make up a path that the kids have to get through. They can only do this by using the different commands (arrows) that you created.

3. This activity can be developed further by letting the kids build their own path in Lego. And then let their friends try to get through the path with a Lego figure by drawing the commands that are needed on a paper.

4. In order to challenge the children to work together and to solve problems, you can connect an iPad to a projector, and work with one of the many programming apps that is available. My favorite one is lightbot -hour of Code and Swift Playground. Let them together to solve the task of taking the robot or figure through the various paths in the game.  This is also a great rhetoric challenge. They must listen, argue and explain why their solution is the best.
5. By now, the children have a pretty clear picture of how the code works, challenge the children further by letting them try to program robots. Here they can also build different paths of physical materials that the robot can navigate through. Here again they train themselves to cooperate and to communicate.
6. The next step is to start exploring a maker kit, like Makey Makey. Here the kids practice their creativity and their logical thinking. One tip is to search after makey makey or makerspace on youtube to get inspiration for what you can create.
The combination of modern technology, physical material, the interaction between kids and between kids and teachers is a great way of making a joyful learning environment.

Good luck!


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