Monday, 23 July 2012

Programming is not algebra

A while ago I created a post on how students got confused with some of the problems that they are given in programming, they seem very algebra based, a = 0; b = 3, a = b; and this gets some students absolutely stuck.

In this post we talked about the number of generation of rabbits 

and reading Andy's blog the other day, made a lot of sense.

The Simple Things

People who have been coding for a long time forget that their variables and equals signs are incompatible with algebra. My friend might have passed the sheep test if her “beginner course” had taught her only these basic definitions:
not like algebra
a sequence of instructions to be executed in order
a name which can be assigned a value
Assignment (a = b)
an instruction to assign to the variable a the value of b
Looking at this has made me want to change my practice in the classroom and wanting to get the students to think about programming as Program, Variable and Assignment, rather than the focus being on the maths at present.

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