Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Should Students Code Math Concepts to Gain Meaning?

Can we use coding to illustrate math concepts? Will students enjoy and learn from this challenge. I've been trying it out using SCRATCH.

The first time I used the SCRATCH animation below. Then students offered their thoughts about the "behavior" of the base-ten place value system. Their share was terrific. Then today, I noticed that students were having trouble understanding how the values compare from one place to the other, especially decimal places. I put together the simple animation above. I think this animation will help them to understand place value more.

 I've offered students the chance to use SCRATCH and other mediums to make place value movies as an enrichment. Soon, I'll ask everyone to try to code an animation to demonstrate a math concept. 

Have you tried this? If so, how did it go? What are the advantages of this process, and what are the disadvantages. Like making movies, when you code a concept, you feel your brain working--I know that can be good learning if the challenge is just right.