In our last article, we discussed about 3 Interactive Offline Coding Activities you or your child can engage in. But why offline? Isn’t learning about coding or programming all about using a computer? That’s about half right. As much as you’re using a computer to write codes and programs, it’s you who writes them! Therefore, it is still a prerequisite skill to decompose complex tasks, express ideas using symbols, sequence steps, apply logic, and plot coordinates. This is where offline coding activities are beneficial. They remove the emphasis from the technology and instead place it upon computational thinking skills. Here are four ways offline coding activities can provide a foundation for learning about programming:
Apply Logical Reasoning to Control an Desired Result
Parts of a code or program will only run if a set condition is true. These conditional logic may appear to be tougher to code for programming newbies. Therefore, you may consider trying out offline activities that connect daily life to if-then statements to better understand and grasp this concept. For example, you can determine on your own what happens if a particular actions such as when you push a switch, or when a baby cries. These common occurrences and the step-by-step thinking process will help you better understand how conditions are used to control events.
Divide a Task into a String of Instructions
To put programming simply, it’s just telling your computer a string of instructions. Just like how you’d tell your helper at home what to do before you leave house for school or work. Most have many parts that work together to complete a task. Before you start building an entire program (which is going to seem really daunting), you must first learn to divide a big task into smaller ones. Offline coding activities that allows you to make an ordered step-by-step to-do list are a great way to teach decomposition. For example, writing how-to instructions, recipes, or directions will help students develop the analytical skills required to think like a programmer.
How that you’ve coded all your smaller task, you’ve got to join them all up to run. This is where sequencing comes into play – they have to be sequenced to complete a specific task. A programmer must decide what comes first, what goes next and when does it happen. Offline coding activities that require students to order items is one way to develop a systematic way of thinking. For example, sequencing story events, listing significant milestones chronically, or reorganizing stages of a life cycle are some ways to stimulate logical reasoning.
Plot Coordinates to Position Objects
The function of some appliances or games is to place or move objects. This may be done to control the action of a robot or video game player. Such programs requires the understanding of x and y coordinates to plot the movement. Interactive offline coding exercise can help provide a foundation for understanding how to position objects. For example, identifying a location on a map using the latitude and longitude is one way to establish the purpose of coordinates. Another option is to design a dot-to-dot drawing on a grid that has an ordered list of x and y values for each dot.