Coding is an skill that bridges together problem-solving, mathematics, and creativity. Problem solving may be key among these three concepts because it is an ability that transcends all subjects, not just the ones that fall under the STE(A)M umbrella. Whether I am attempting to solve an algebraic equation, programme a bee to collect honey OR nectar from a flower, or even figure out how fingering and rhythm work together while learning a new song on the recorder, an effective problem-solving mindset is necessary to achieve the greatest sense of success.
Coding is a particularly enjoyable (and addicting) activity because the work that you input nets tangible results when the programme is run. The trial and error nature of coding is an invaluable tenet to follow because it teaches that even if things don’t go the way you hoped they would, you can go back, retrace your steps, and try to improve on the situation. In life, of course we are not granted the gift of “do-overs,” but a belief that we can improve on our current situation, even if it has taken a wrong turn, can be empowering and noble approach to life, and a skill to cultivate from a young age.
This trial and error philosophy is dearly needed when learning mathematics. Too often students get hung up on attaining the ‘correct’ answer, or feel a sense of despair upon reaching an incorrect solution. If learning mathematics could be approached with the same “game-like” attitude as coding or video games, it is possible that students could approach the language with courage and curiosity as opposed to disdain and fear.
Code.org contains a wealth of opportunity to learn basic coding principles. Some lessons dip into art applications and geometry, others dive a bit deeper into if/else strings and parameters, and others teach basic concepts to design a simple game. I’ve sunk many hours into the website and have gained a deeper appreciation for the joys and challenges that computer programming can bring. Here are some programmes I developed on the website.