[Edu-sig] CTL: Computer Thinking Language
Jason Axelson
bostonvaulter at gmail.com
Mon Mar 2 22:41:10 CET 2009
As a current college student myself, I feel like chiming in here.
2009/3/2 michel paul <mpaul213 at gmail.com>:
> However, it is again more mathematically effective to read "2 + 3 * 4" as
> "the sum of 2 and the product of 3 and 4", or, sum(2, product(3, 4)). No
> ambiguity there! And this is how you have to think when you hook chains of
> functions together. This kind of stuff could be done very early in the
> curriculum. Doesn't have to wait for either advanced math classes or
> computer science.
Perhaps it may be appropriate to try and introduce prefix notation to
students, such as what lisp uses. So instead of "2 + 3 * 4" or sum(2,
product(3, 4)) it would be (+ 2 (* 3 4)). Unfortunately, that might
make their eyes glaze over, but you could state how it is unambiguous
and maybe formalize infix notation for them.
> Math teachers often forget, or are unaware, that the ordinary arithmetic
> operators are themselves functions. I think it would be good for math
> classes to explore this kind of functional composition for very simple
> ideas.
Personally I found that being able to think about many math concepts
as functions helped me a great deal with managing the complexity of
many math courses. Just my 2 cents.
-Jason
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