[Edu-sig] Age groups

Hank Fay hank@prosysplus.com
Fri, 11 Feb 2000 23:54:10 -0500


	I think we're in the same ballpark on this.  I think having stuff happen
right away is better for lower age groups (< 5 or 6 depending on the kid),
as conscious thinking about the future is a skill developed over time.  Some
kids have it at 3 or 4; others get it at 7 or 8; and some people never get
it at all. <g>



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dustin James Mitchell [mailto:djmitche@cs.uchicago.edu]
> Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2000 9:51 PM
> To: Hank Fay
> Cc: Dirk-Ulrich Heise; edu-sig@python.org
> Subject: RE: [Edu-sig] Age groups
> On Fri, 4 Feb 2000, Hank Fay wrote:
> > When I think of "classes" and 5 year olds, I think of a visual scene
> > (e.g., a trail in an outdoors setting) that has various challenges
> > (e.g., a ledge that needs to be jumped to).  To get through the trail,
> > the youngster has to "drop" one object on another, in order to extend
> > the properties of the object to be able to surmount the challenges.
> > A dice roll would determine whether you got to "buy" Michael Jordan's
> > legs for your object, e.g.  In other words, take the concepts of
> > subclassing, and put them in the world of the 5-year old.
> The visual approach is absolutely necessary.  However, I think one of the
> more confusing aspects of the first step into programming (and, at 5, into
> life in general) is the notion of sequence.  Look at any K - 1st grader's
> homework (I assistant teach Kindergarten).  You'll see a lot of sequencing
> and cause-and-effect worksheets.  These concepts are difficult for a
> child, and the worksheets are usually non-interactive (most are a series
> of pictures, and the student must draw lines from each picture to the next
> in the sequence).
> Now imagine that we allow a student to drag-and-drop 'steps' into a
> 'program', then click 'go' to see the program do its thing.  Suddenly they
> can see the effects of their sequencing, and experiment until they get it
> right.
> Students at this age also get most of their encouragement from having
> 'done something themselves' -- the biggest bribe I have for mine is
> letting them take a message down the hall to the office -- and building a
> 'program' to do something will give them a big, motivating thrill.
> Dustin
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> |                         Dustin Mitchell                )O(        |
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