The best way for teaching coding to kids is always difficult for some teachers. This may be because computing or programming is still new to some classroom teachers. In this article, I will share with you the best ways for teaching coding to kids. We have previously written about gold teaching strategies.
If you are a teacher or parent who wishes to start teaching kids how to code. You can get in-touch with us for discussion. Meanwhile, if you already know about coding, below are what you should start with.
Ways for Teaching Coding to Kids
There are basically five things a teacher who wants to start teaching code to kids should focus on. We have previously highlighted why coding is important to kids.
Now, let us begin.
The very first concept of coding is algorithms. This is a step-by-step definite process to provide a solution for a problem. It is a good practice that programmers develop algorithms in the form of flow charts or pseudo code before the coding proper.
Teaching kids this process of writing down instructions or steps before the actual work will help them grab the concept of coding and of course programming in general. Canva for Education can be used to design flowchart.
Generally speaking, sequence simply means to complete a task following a certain order. Considering algorithms as discussed above, it is a way of putting those instructions in order. This actually is a core skill in programming and a great introduction to coding for kids.
This can be integrated into classroom lessons by teaching children the order of topics in a particular subject. Or by asking them to list the order of classroom routine.
Loop is basically something that goes round and round again and again. Loops in coding allow you to repeat a process again and again. In fact, the loop will continue to repeat until an instruction is given for it to stop.
This concept can be taught by explaining to kids how they come to school on a daily basis. The process stops on weekends, or when school closes for the term or semester.
For example, if a kid routine for getting to school is as follows:
- Go to the bus stop
- Enter school bus
- Make 3 stops to pick other kids
- Arrive at school
- Walk into the classroom
This whole process can be named “getting to school”. So in coding, once you mention “getting to school” to a computer, it already knows the whole process. This is known as “Class” in Object Oriented Programming (OOP).
Decomposition basically is breaking down problems into smaller and more manageable units. Teachers can do this by asking pupils to break-down a process or their daily routine into smaller steps.
For instance, if you ask a kid to teach you how to brush teeth. Many of them are likely to give you a brush and ask you to start brushing immediately. But teachers need to get them to learn how to break down the process in a smaller piece. This is also a practice in the field of vocational studies.
First, get water into a cup, get toothpaste, get a tooth brush and put toothpaste on it. Then, start to brush the teeth and so on. That is the concept of decomposition which should be understandable to a computer.
Branching in programming simply means to check conditions that determine the choice being made. In other words, it is making a decision based on what has happened or what is currently happening.
Let us assume that children daily routine is like this:
- Wake up
- Say prayer
- Brush teeth
- Take bath
- Eat breakfast
- Go to school
But what happens if a particular day is a public holiday and there is no school. This will definitely confuse the computer and introduce a bug. Branching is used to solve this problem by using a conditional statement known as “if”.
For example, “if it is a public holiday, skip this and that”. You can use testmoz to check kids understanding of these concepts.
Debugging is a method of correcting bugs (errors) in the computer code so that it will work as expected. Aside from other key programming best practices. Testing and Debugging is a big feature in the programming processes.
In fact, there is a field of work known as software testing. It is advised that you contract a tester to check your software or web application before deploying them.
So It is about fixing issues. Don’t forget there are web platforms where one can learn software testing.
Programming is a fun thing to do, whether you’re doing it for work or for learning purposes. Focusing on the 5 best practices for teaching coding will help you bring the best from the children who are learning how to code.
Teachers also should take lessons on different programming languages to give them better experience in their teaching career. If you wish, you can join other teachers in our forum to continue the conversation.