5 Tips to Introduce Algorithms to Children
- Oct 21, 2016
- Sudipto Das
Algorithms might look pretty irrelevant for children’s education, but it undoubtedly holds huge significance in the field of coding which is a part and parcel of computer science. Coding, these days has become the basic technological literacy. You should remember one thing that if you want to write a flawless code, you must know how to write a flawless algorithm. So it’s necessary for children to possess a clear idea of algorithms before they enter into the realms of programming. Let’s go through a few tips to introduce algorithms to children.
The first and foremost step is to explain the meaning of the term “algorithm” to kids
This point can be deemed the 1st step to introduce computer programming to children. They must know the basic definition of the algorithm before they delve deeper into the realms of programming.
An algorithm can be said to be a set of detailed step-wise instructions to solve a specific problem or complete a specific task.
In programming, programmers write algorithms to instruct a computer of the different ways to perform a specific task.
Encourage your kids to think of algorithms in a general sense
It’s not necessary for children to think of algorithm from the textual point of view. Algorithms are everywhere. A simple recipe to prepare a specific food is a form of an algorithm. The method that you use to calculate math problems involving operational arithmetic is also an algorithm. So you can see that students can actually make an algorithm from your very own daily life. We will provide you with a simple example. The algorithm below is based on your kid’s morning routine.
- Get up
- Get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- If weather is “sunny”
Walk to the school
Go to the school with parents
Introduce the basic algorithms in programming to kids
You should introduce algorithms related to computer programming to kids after they have accustomed themselves to algorithms in general. They should learn about the ways to implement algorithms in programming. But you should also remember that since this is just the start, you should introduce algorithms that are based on the very basics like basic operational arithmetic including simple additions, subtractions, multiplications, divisions, etc. A simple example can clear this matter-
The algorithm below is used to determine the sun of 3 numbers taken as user input.
- Declare the three variables x, y, z, sum /*”sum” is a variable where the summation of the three numbers is stored. “x,” “y” and “z” are the variables that store the values taken as user-input*/
- Read the three user-input values x, y, z
- Perform the addition of the three values taken as user input and store them in sum.
5. Display sum
You should make your kids aware of the techniques involved in writing a good algorithm
To write a good algorithm, you should know about a few techniques. Introduce these techniques to your children. Some of these techniques are:
- The inputs and the outputs of an algorithm should be defined specifically.
- Each step of the algorithm needs to be written in a clear, lucid and unambiguous manner.
- An algorithm is the best and effective way to get the solution to a particular problem. Your children should know that point while writing an algorithm.
- An algorithm shouldn’t possess any computer code. It should be written in simple English.
Encourage your kids to improvise and write their very own algorithms
This is basically the final point but do remember that this is as important as the ones above. Urge your kids to improvise algorithms. They, themselves can find better and faster ways to solve a specific problem and make necessary changes as applicable in the algorithm. They should also try to write their very own algorithms using their own ideas. It can be a cooking recipe or anything.
You should ask your kids to remember that a computer doesn’t understand a specific user’s intentions. Therefore, specifications are a must.
Algorithmic thinking is a part and parcel of STEM education, and hence, it’s of utmost importance in shaping a student’s career. Professional tutors can definitely inculcate that form of thinking in kids. With that, we’ll bring this article to an end. Hope you had a good read.
Sudipto writes technical and educational content periodically for wizert.com and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation.
Follow him on twitter @SudiptoDas1993
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