Why Coding? There’s been a lot of buzz about kids learning to code lately. This year, almost 200 million students around the world were exposed to coding through the Hour of Code event. And over 90% of American parents want programming added to their child’s curriculum.¹ In today’s digital world, coding is a fundamental skill alongside math and reading, but too few kids have the opportunity to learn to program because it is rarely taught in school. Tynker’s mission is to create a fun and engaging platform where children not only learn to program, but also have opportunities to be creative using code. Here’s why learning to code is so important for children:
Coding drives innovation. From self-driving cars to robot-assisted surgery to social media, computer science is revolutionizing every aspect of our lives. Coding is a fundamental skill that children need to learn so they can lead this movement.
Coding allows kids to be creative. They can create projects that do really amazing things.
Coding builds confidence. It is incredibly empowering for children to be able to create projects and show them off to family and friends.
Coding is best learned early. Learning to code is similar to learning a second language. The earlier that children are exposed to fundamental topics like sequencing, loops, and conditionals, the more deeply they absorb these concepts.
Coding translates to success in other areas. Learning to program supports learning in other areas, like math, reading, and science. - https://www.tynker.com/content/why-coding
Girls Who “Make” Choose STEM The growing shortage of women pursuing careers in computer science and engineering is a hot topic these days. Fortunately, the future looks bright for the next generation of girls, according to a new study by Intel. Their research finds that “girls that make, design and create things using technology may develop a stronger interest and greater skills in computer science and engineering.” The popularity of “DIY” and the Maker Movement is creating a generation of girls and women who show just as much interest as boys in making, inventing, and solving problems through technology. According to Intel, 1 in 4 teens and tweens have already made things with technology and 7 in 10 are interested in learning to make things with electronics. The key to getting more girls interested in STEM is to encourage and expose them to making. Whether it be through designing, building, coding, or the arts, making provides them with a pathway to learn and explore new ideas and technologies. -https://www.tynker.com/content/girls-who-make-choose-stem-science-technology-engineering-math
Programming = Better Math Skills + Fun The conventional belief has always been that kids interested in programming should develop strong math skills. But it might actually be the other way around. Educators and parents are talking about how computer programming can help children build math skills and make math learning more fun. Michelle Lagos, a computer science teacher at the American school in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, observes, “One of the most common cross curricular benefits of computer programming is that the kids have an easier time learning math skills.” She uses Tynker in elementary classes and adds, “When they have to work on long division, it is easier for them to visualize the numbers now instead of counting with their fingers. They visualize the equation and think of the best way to solve it.” Lagos reports that, as a result of using Tynker, she has “seen kids in many grades improve their math skills.” A few ways that programming helps kids learn math Programming helps kids visualize abstract conceptsAbstract math concepts can be a challenge to many kids and put them off the subject entirely. Parents, teachers, and technology specialists are using Tynker to help children visualize abstract math concepts. Jesse Thorstad, Technology coordinator for the Fergus Falls Public Schools district in Minnesota, says, “Tynker provides kids with a concrete example of the power of decimal places. When studying decimals in math, the students experience a heartwarming ‘Ah-ha!’ moment when they see how moving a decimal block of code can affect the objects on the screen tenfold.”
Kids explore the real-world applications of math concepts Creating spaceships or saving puppies with Tynker is a great way for a child to see the application of math strategies. Sri Ramakrishnan of Tynker points out that kids develop stronger math skills when applying concepts in a real-world context: “The computational thinking involved in computer programming involves logic, organizing and analyzing data, and breaking a problem into smaller and more manageable parts. Much of this is also required when solving math problems!”
Math can be used in creative coding projects Tynkering kids see how math is inherently creative. Here is an example of math art that kids can create with Tynker: 10-year-old Jacob Myers, a big math buff who regularly competes in math contests, uses Tynker to make math art with spirals and triangles. Coding teaches problem-solving skillsProgramming is a real-world way to teach mathematical thinking. When students create or debug a program, they practice solving problems. Math teachers find that Tynker’s beginning lessons are a great way to teach pattern identification as well.
Programming makes math more fun “My kids ask to program with Tynker because they enjoy it,” says Jennifer Apy, parent of a 15-year-old, an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old. “Without realizing it, my kids are identifying attributes and grouping variables, applying conditional logic, developing algorithmic functions, and calculating angles within geometric shapes. But most of all, they are patiently articulating hypotheses to solve problems, and boldly applying trial-and-error experimentation, strategies required by any field of study. And this is in addition to some of the coding that requires real math – to correctly calculate wait times, set score counters, calculate points, and time interactions between characters in their games.” Says Apy, “If kids realize they are using math when programming Tynker games, it could actually build their confidence with math, and show them that mathematical thinking can be cool.”
Math is cool? What could be better than that?
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