perlmeditation
Odud
To keep us occupied during the summer months my eldest daughter (aged 9) and I have decided it would be fun if I were to teach her programming. For obvious reasons Perl is my language of choice but the problem I have is in devising a syllabus that will both teach her the rudiments and keep both her and me entertained.
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<EM>(Sadly)</EM> As I guess that most of the monks are closer to their childhood than I am I would be interested in any suggestions that you have on appropriate topics that will lead us from the basics through to more advanced topics.
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It’s not that the teaching worries me – I’ve done lots of courses on lots of topics but mainly to “computer literate” people – and in general they understand what it is you are trying to teach them and why. But perhaps this is very difficult and very different to convey to a 9-year-old.
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As a first shot I was thinking about something on the lines of:
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Suppose you spend x at a shop and give a note of value y – how does the shopkeeper give you change?
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Teaches: simple arithmetic, looping, lists, sorting, etc. – and also relates well to the real world.
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Background
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The first “useful” program I wrote did ‘straight line of best fit’ - given a set of x,y coordinates it told you the mean x,y value and the intercept on the y axis. [Historical Note: this was written in BASIC and ran using a dial-up connection to a time sharing company with an acoustic coupler (ask your parents!) – I later converted it to ALGOL.] At the time this made sense to me as, in 1970, I was doing O-Level (I don’t know the US equivalent but it’s the exams you do at age 16) physics and chemistry. Then I got more interested in maths and the next program solved cubics – Newton-Raphson iteration to find the first root, synthetic division to turn the cubic into a quadratic solved by the usual means. And on and on but always with a practical basis.
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So my background has been programming as an aid to solving problems rather than something in itself – my problem is how do I translate this into something that a 9 year old will be enthusiastic about and learn from? – and that both of us will enjoy and learn from>
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You have lots of time to think about this and we can discuss suggestions – we are planning to start in July – if people are interested in this topic then I will be more than happy to provide regular feedback on how we are getting on.
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[Odud]<BR><HR>
Update: Thanks to everyone who has commented on this node - I'm very impressed with the feedback that has been provided - I'm now working slowly through them so that I don't miss any important points