Teaching Students to Code Teaches Students to Learn


Teaching coding in schools can inspire more than just the next generation of programmers, learning to code can help advance student learning in a variety of different subjects.  Coding teaches patience, perseverance, and problem solving. According to Tammy Pankey at eSchool News, with so many online resources like Code.org, Pitsco Education, and FIRST non-profit organization, it can be easy for educators to bring coding into the classroom.

Math may be the first subject that comes to mind when you think of teaching coding, and for good reason.  Coding helps math students break down problems into smaller parts to find the answer. Students can apply these skills in geometry, algebra, or even calculus.

Pankey said that working coding into your mathematics curriculum can be as easy as having students determine a program’s wait time for a robot to travel a certain distance.  For more advanced students, assignments can include coding a robot to plot points on a graph, or to make geometric shapes and patterns.

Science students frequently hypothesize the outcome of an experiment and document the final results.  These skills are also used when learning to code; students have to hypothesize how their program will perform and create an experiment to test it out.  Students also learn how to analyze experiment results and recognize data patterns.

Coding assignments for a science curriculum could include having students identify a coding issue and use their problem-solving skills to find an effective solution, or coding a robot and designing scientific method experiments to test it.  

English language arts (ELA) may seem like a subject that would not benefit from coding experience, however coding allows students to practice communication skills within teams.  It also allows students to practice writing and presenting about their coding projects.

Coding in an ELA classroom could be taught through students programming a robot to spell out a word or phrase.  Educators could also have students write stories about their robots and then code the robot to act it out.

Social Studies teaches students about the world whether it be through history, geography, or citizenship.  Coding can allow students to explore their world in an exciting and engaging way.

Coding a robot to travel a map to different countries or continents could help them more effectively memorize world geography.  You can even have your students create the map themselves and plot out historical routes like the Oregon Trail.

Story via eSchool News

Ingrid Schmidt