[Edu-sig] Age groups

Dustin James Mitchell djmitche@cs.uchicago.edu
Fri, 11 Feb 2000 00:07:27 -0600 (CST)

On Fri, 4 Feb 2000, John Glossner wrote:

> > >   2) Early Education (5-7 year old)
> > 
> > I think it's still to early to teach kids who can't read programming.
> > 
> My just barely 6 year old is fully able to read.
> She is also extremely computer literate.

But she is by far the exception, not the rule.  I think that a core part
of the CP4E curriculum is that it brings to the educational table a piece
of the equality that is so unique to the online world.  We need to target
all students, not just the bright ones.  And hitting them with programming
involving reading at 6 (Kindergarten) will blow away the vast majority of

> > >   3) Elementary Education (8-10 year old)
> > 
> > You can start here. The concept of variables, lists and functions can
> > be explained. Dictionairies too, I think. Classes will probably be only
> > for the very smart ones.
> > 
> I can tell you from experience that it is very difficult
> to keep their interest. My son complains why does he have
> to learn this binary arithmetic stuff. Why can't I just
> make Ash's Pokemon battle Gary? And let's talk about the
> current literature available to them. It is impossible
> for them to take any of the Python books and just start
> reading them. There is too much background that they
> assume. These books are excellent for programmers but
> not ok for kids. 

Why does he have to learn binary arithmetic?  For the most part, Python is
high-level enough that bits are irrelevant..

However, as for books, I wholeheartedly agree.  I learned BASIC from some
book with lots of worksheets in it and clowns and cute decorations all
over it.  So long ago I can't remember what the name was.  But it worked!


|                         Dustin Mitchell                )O(        |