Enjoying Computer Science Education Week? Play with some code.

Note: No billygoats were harmed in the making of this post. ;-)

Monday marked the beginning of Computer Science Education Week, and as someone who came late to techiehood but is learning (very) fast out of necessity, I have been following with interest. Code has a practical purpose, but it could also be a potential teaching tool for kids. Teaching kids about code also teaches its attendant math functions, from addition and multiplication to temperature conversion. (You have to know the formulas before the computer will calculate them for you.) You don’t always need the highest math, though, contrary to my high school’s prerequisites for taking C++. There are elementary programming tutorials for kids as young as 4! (And if learning as an adult intimidates you, those tutorials are a great starting point. Heck, the C++ textbook I started leafing through has a big purple monster on the cover for that very reason.) The Digital Shift has a great list of apps for learning code as well.

Kids don’t need to be the next Ada Lovelace or Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, either–sometimes code is just a fun thing to play with. (But you never know, right?) So, on that note, I’ll tell you a fractured story in C++, in the style of Jon Klassen:

#include <iostream>
int main() {
using namespace std;
int billygoats;
cout << "How many billygoats do you have?" << endl;
cin >> billygoats; // C++ input
cout << "Trip trap, crunch. ";
billygoats = billygoats - 1;
cout << "BURP. Now you have " << billygoats << " billygoats." << endl;
return 0;
}

Further reading:

Hello World! Computer programming for kids and other beginners

Python for Kids

Happy Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day!

About Amy

Children's librarian, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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