I’m a parent, I know my kids are going to grow up in a world of tech. With news feeds shouting that everything about our world is changing at an accelerated rate, I’m left wondering, how can I help prepare my kids for their future?
Understand the language of Computational Thinking
Tech and teacher speak can baffle parents, leading us to go to Google in hopes of gaining insight into what’s new in education — like Computational Thinking. Understanding simple concepts around computational thinking, a buzzword in today’s classrooms, can help you marry what your kids are learning at school to home.
Concepts like making a prediction, searching for repeating patterns, evaluating a decision, breaking down a hard problem into parts and/or removing unnecessary information to solve a problem and following a series of instructions (hello Ikea furniture and Lego sets!) are all a part of computational thinking.
Help your kids at home with unplugged activities
Teaching the concepts of Computational Thinking at home can be done with just stuff around the house. Sort a group of items from largest to smallest, make groups based on characteristics (blue goes with blue, red with red, etc.). Visit a library to check out and read ‘The Gingerbread Man’ or ‘Going On A Bear Hunt’. Provide your child with choices (the apple for a snack now or the cupcake later) and then discuss the consequences of each choice. Get out your craft supplies and make a repeating pattern with beads for a friendship bracelet. Or simply follow the directions on a recipe to make a healthy meal together. All of these unplugged actions help develop the computational and critical thinking skills they will need to succeed.
What about Tech?
That will come! Kids should use tech as a tool and before it’s placed in their hands you can help them understand the basics to solving real world problems with unplugged computational thinking and coding.
For more information on computational thinking, and for more ways to engage your kids in STEM learning, visit the re-designed letstalkscience.ca. Coming fall 2019!