Algorithms are all around us and they are really interesting. It is just that we have resorted to more complex things around us – programming languages and coding. If you look at your morning ritual of going to office, you follow a specific algorithm.
You wake up, brush, freshen up and look what to have for breakfast. You think of having eggs and when you don’t find them, you switch to the next decision of having cereals. You come to your wardrobe to decide on the attire you would wear for work and when you find it among the soiled, you quickly make an alternative decision.
All the actions that we do are subconscious results of algorithms. It is just that we do not realize them in our everyday lives. Your kids should know this first before you set out to teach them algorithms. They need to understand that algorithms are pathways to specific actions and alternative decisions in cases when a specific action cannot be executed.
When you link it to your academics, math and science are filled with algorithms. Chemical bonding and equations are algorithms, math formulae are algorithms and the likes.
Once you make your kids understand this, it would b easier to make use of any platform or medium to orient them further to algorithms. To make your process simpler, here are some of the ways you can teach algorithms to your kids.
By Making them Write Down
Before going in detail about algorithms using computer, it is better they have a good grasp of some of the simpler real world application of algorithms. To get things started, you can ask your kids to write an algorithm about their morning routine in detail. This would also include the number of steps they need to walk to brush their teeth, to the breakfast table and the number of sips to complete their milk.
This helps them breakdown everyday processes into fragments and becomes easy when sitting in front of a computer with an actual purpose. Along this process, they would learn sequencing, repetition, conditional logic and other crucial aspects of algorithms. Once they know the steps involved in an algorithm, they would be able to grasp things better.
There is nothing like guided learning. In an environment where your kid would be surrounded by other kids of his or her age, the concept of learning together and having fun takes full shape. Besides, afterschool programs also have the right infrastructure, trainers and mentors to help kids learn better on a daily basis. In such cases, you do not have to break your head in teaching complex things to your kids. Besides, such programs also track the progress of your kids performances and that becomes easier to refine to areas your kid would need more attention in and the ones he or she is excelling at.
On one of our earlier posts, we had compiled a list of apps that help you teach your kids coding. Such apps use gamification techniques to teach complex concepts in the most intriguing and visually appealing ways. Apps like Tynker, Lightbot and more help kids visually understand logic and algorithms and let them create new apps and projects as well.
Learning algorithms works on psychological levels. It expands your kids’ creative thinking abilities and instills in them the skills to breakdown complex processes into simpler fragments and solve one concern at a time. It also helps them develop critical thinking skills that they would need in the longer run. If you are keen on driving your kids towards excellence, this is the right time to venture them into the world of coding and algorithms.