Through the process of learning code, kids learn how to problem-solve. They are presented with a task and they must use the right code to complete the task. They must use the correct commands in the correct sequences to achieve success. This requires kids to use critical thinking, visualization and sequencing to communicate with the computer. These same skills are also required to solve algebraic equations, calculate area or perimeter, and many other important math skills. Coding has very deep and direct connections to the math classroom.
“Print ‘Hello, world!'” – this simple command tells a computer to print the “Hello World” on your screen. This is commonly the first command students learn when beginning to code (in Python).
Teachers have slowly come to understand that math education needs to change. Child engagement in math learning is key to student success. Math instruction needs to include practical applications that create enthusiasm for learning. Teaching coding is just one of the ways teachers have begun to modify math instruction. Code is essentially computer language; all computer programs, web tools, apps, and software use code. Given the technology-based world in which we live this is an incredibly important and practical skill to have.
As a founder of a math tutoring company in NYC, I’ve personally seen the effectiveness of incorporating coding workshops into our math learning curriculum. When kids realize that the technology they enjoy each and everyday would not exist without math, they become motivated to learn and excel in math.
Coding is also a lot of fun. Kids become very excited when the commands they use create something exciting. Kids love creating their own version of “Flappy Bird.” Once they understand the basic commands and format of a language they can program a character to complete certain actions, like throwing a barrel or fly through a maze.
As their skills increase some kids have gone on to use coding to create their own video games or apps. The possibilities are endless. Once a child understands code, many doorways for future employment present themselves. According to Code.org, there are thousands of jobs available in this sector.
Learning to use code is an important skill that is practical and relevant to today’s job market, but it can also help grow a child's interest for math and STEM.