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MATH + CODING EVENTS

SHARING WITH OUR FAMILY OF SCHOOLS

Reported by Iain Brodie, St. Andrew Public School, Toronto District School Board

1. STUDENTS SHARING THEIR LEARNING

This April, our family of schools put on a technology expo call Wired ER14. We took our students down to demonstrate just how great coding is for learning mathematics.

 

Group after group of students and teachers came, watched our students make code, and were invited to give it a try themselves.

 

The best ambassadors for learning mathematics through coding are students themselves.

 

2. ST. ANDREW PUBLIC SCHOOL LEARNS TO CODE

“Hey. Do you want to try coding?”

“Coding? I’m not a programmer. That’s way too hard.”

“It’s easy. Just try it. Here, look. This is how you code a square. Try it.”

“That was easy! Look, I made a square.”

 

“Well done. Can you use that code to make other shapes? Just play with it. Coding is fun.”

“Ha! I made a triangle.”

 

“I made a whole bunch of triangles. With different colours to make a beautiful design.”

 

“See? Coding is fun and it’s not hard at all. Do you want to try it with your students?”

“Coding? With students? I know that they code in schools in the U.K., but there’s no coding here.”

“Think about what you just did. How much math did you have to do just to make your squares and triangles?”

“Wow, you’re right! I had to use my knowledge of shapes. I discovered how to make my design make a full circle. That’s a lot of geometry. But isn’t coding too hard for children?”

“Not at all. Children are smarter than you think. A lot smarter.”

We began coding with our students this fall.

 

Our grade 7s and 8s learned first, then they coached our grade 1s, 2s and 3s.

 

It is remarkable how engaged all of the students were -except for the poor coaches who did such a good job, they weren’t needed as much by their younger protégés.

 

See the teacher interview.

 

So far, we’ve learned about shapes, measurement, number patterns, linear functions, and motion geometry on the Cartesian plane. One of our assessments in geometry was to create code to draw a shape and to rotate it into all four quadrants of the Cartesian plane.

 

Conrad Wolfram says that if you really want to know what a student understands have them create a program to demonstrate it. He’s right.