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Re: How to introduce 8 year olds to (Perl) programming?

by toma (Vicar)
on Apr 26, 2005 at 17:29 UTC ( #451689=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to How to introduce 8 year olds to (Perl) programming?

I wouldn't start with procedural programming. I think a spreadsheet is a much better starting point.

It is satifying to work with a spreadsheet because it does such a nice job of formatting the work. This gives the student a feeling of accomplishment.

Computing some sort of average having to do with sports would be interesting for many 8 year olds. This helps cross a language barrier, since sports have a well-defined vocabulary.

Another good exercise is to have them build a computer. I was able to get 30 students to make their own slide rules in twenty minutes. I gave them a quick demo of an adder by using two rulers. Then I gave each of them a log table (with the numbers expressed as lengths) and a ruler, and they made slide rules out of paper.

Another example was a prime number generator. One group wrote the sequence of numbers on small slips of paper and handed it off to a chain of others who implemented the sieve of Eratosthenes. It was pandemonium, and fun to watch! (Hint - the bottleneck is at the divide-by-7 table).

The trick to all of these exercises is prepare by practicing.

It should work perfectly the first time! - toma
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