Learning to code prepares kids for the world we live in today.
From anthropology to zoology and for every industry in between, computer science is transforming every space and every aspect of our lives. Tomorrow’s leaders will need to be fluent in computer science to adapt to this change. Plus, coding is inherently creative—whether you are building a video game, medical software or the next great social network, you use the same tools to get the end result. All that said, there are many reasons for learning how to code that run much deeper than getting ready for the adult world.
Here are 3 benefits for kids and, as a bonus, how each one helps kids get better at math.
1. Knowing the world around them
If kids in school are taught biology and mathematics in order to understand the world around them, then code does the same thing—only with the bonus of learning how to be creative. With code, you can build projects that help you explore lots of topics, from learning the phases of the moon to playing with the physics of bouncing soccer balls, tennis balls or any piece of sports equipment that moves.
In addition, working with code and building projects involves doing a lot of multi-step problems—perfect practice for getting good at multi-step word problems in math.
2. Developing computational thinking skills
The skills that come with computer programming help kids develop new ways of thinking and fostering problem-solving techniques that can have repercussions in other areas.
Computational thinking allows students to grasp concepts like algorithms, recursion, and heuristics. Even if they don’t understand the terms themselves, they’ll learn the basic concepts behind the terms, which are very similar to the skills needed to follow a recipe, even when that recipe is very complicated.
Learning advanced problem-solving techniques makes it easier to tackle tougher math questions, like the ones you get at the end of tests that are the hardest but help you go from a B to an A+.
3. Coding is creativity unleashed
Teaching kids how to code builds their confidence and creativity. It provides the tools to create a world of limitless possibilities, where they can build their own paths and solutions in their own way.
Just like arts and crafts is a way to express creativity, coding can be a highly engaging, fun, and empowering skill. Imagine you can play a game, and then if you don’t like a particular aspect of the game, you can modify it to your preference by rewriting the code, i.e. the instructions the computer uses to make the game work. Finding a toolset that allows kids to use their most amazing skill (virtually limitless imagination) is a core benefit of learning how to code.
Furthermore, the act of using imagination and creativity to solve problems means that all problems, including math problems, start to seem like opportunities to find solutions. As that happens, solving math problems becomes easier.
Coding gives young people the ability to learn tangible and intangible skills. The tangible skills make it possible for them to interact with 21st century skills. The intangible skills allow them to solve complex problems, learn and apply critical thinking at higher and higher levels, get used to pushing through sticking points in tough problems, and to think creatively when faced with a problem, a challenge or anything that needs to be solved… including math questions!