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Re: Teaching Children How to Program

by eric256 (Parson)
on Nov 14, 2005 at 03:44 UTC ( #508202=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Teaching Children How to Program

Your course seems a bit hard. ;) Realy it depends on the students you will have. If you have 12 year olds who signed up for the class optionaly then maybe your course is perfect. I would recommend having an example script of each step that your young programmers can work from. Maybe printed exampls so that they have to at least type them. I think the hardest part with any new programmer is teaching the logical portion. Perhaps with your course you would have a flowchart-ish description of the days goal. Then your sample code could have that exact description embeded in it as comments in the correct spots. This would allow you to reinforce the logic aspect and still give everyone a chance. The advanced students will ignore or embelish your code, the lower ones will get the crutch they need. You probably also want to schedule time or a few days to let people catch up and get personal attention plus advanced students would get time to explore beyond your lesson plan.

One last note, if you do use Tk maybe prebuild a library (call it a game library or something) that does lots of the work for them. Depending on the skills they have  use GameLib;  my $name = get("What is your name?"); is lots easier and more bang for there buck.

Final side note: I learned programming in the back of my 6th grade class with basic and logo. The teacher realized I got more out of that then the math she was teaching (which in 6th grade is pretty low stuff) and figured i was less of a distraction back there than bugging her with questions during her lesson. ;)

Eric Hodges $_='y==QAe=e?y==QG@>@?iy==QVq?f?=a@iG?=QQ=Q?9'; s/(.)/ord($1)-50/eigs;tr/6123457/- \/|\\\_\n/;print;

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Re^2: Teaching Children How to Program
by Sandy (Curate) on Nov 14, 2005 at 14:09 UTC
    I was planning on writing the bits of code, in class. Rather than start with a finished example, where all the bugs are eliminated, I thought it would be useful for them to see me make mistakes, and what methods I use to track down the mistakes and fix them.

    At the end of the class, each student can have a copy of what I did, so that they can play with it and expand on it if they want.

    I am also setting up a private forum, so the more adventurous kids can post questions etc (just like perl monks).


      That is very useful. I found that my best asset was the ability to make fun of myself when I made a bug happen. It was great to see the kids work up the courage to figure out and point out my mistakes. Most of the kids I worked with came from a 2nd-generation hispanic immigrant society where the cultural imperative is to stay off the radar scope, so this was very gratifying to see.

      The first two years, when we had a very gifted teacher to work with, this worked well, but the last year, the replacement wasn't as secure in her classroom leadership. I and the other in-class volunteer discovered that she was very unhappy when I demonstrated my imperfection. It sounds like you will not run into this kind of thing in a direct sense, but be alert. The 'management buy-in' may disappear due to circumstances outside your control. The parents loved what we did and supported it vociferously, but support evaporated from the administration for reasons I have already described.

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