When it’s time to do their math homework, how do your kids react? Do they tell you it’s boring? Do they say things like, “ Why? I’m never going to need this”? Do they take forever to get started?
It might surprise you, but the same kids who hate their math homework often enjoy our coding classes, despite the fact that coding is based on mathematical principles. These kids log in on their own, have fun in class, and willingly log into their classes, and leave the course having coded their own apps and games.
What they don’t realize is that by coding, they’re actually strengthening their math skills.
Why is math so difficult for kids?
There are two ways of thinking: concrete and abstract.
Concrete thinking is based on what you can see, touch, taste, or hear. People who have good concrete thinking skills are able to solve physical problems. Abstract thinking is conceptual. Abstract thinkers solve problems that don’t necessarily have any basis in the physical world – they use ideas, hypotheses, and formulas to help them solve problems.
For example, some sciences are concrete. A child can see the experiment they’re doing. They can touch a model of the solar system and move around its parts. Math, however, is abstract. It can be hard for children to see beyond the numbers and equations to something “real,” and that can be overwhelming for some children.
It’s not just kids who feel this way; parents can have a hard time with abstract thinking as well (if you’ve ever panicked when you’ve been asked to help with your child’s math homework you know how hard abstract thought can be) but it can be extra difficult for children, who are still developing their abstract thinking skills.
Developmental psychologist Jean Piaget theorized that most children are only able to fully develop abstract thinking skills by the age of 12. Younger children are working toward abstract thinking skills and even older kids may spend their teens building the ability to think abstractly.
Thinking about it this way, it makes sense that math, which deals with numbers and formulas and algorithms can be hard for children.
How can coding help?
While coding is based on mathematical concepts, it helps to make these concepts concrete for kids.
For example, docking classes teach math concepts — like vectors and graphing — but make those concepts do something that kids can see and understand.
Take our Robotics for Kids course. In this course, kids use code to move a virtual robot through a series of 3D mazes. To do this, they must understand mathematical principles, but they’re not focusing on math — they’re playing a game, and as they code, they’re learning more about math and code at the same time.
The same goals for our App Development courses - our teachers use Scratch programming to teach coding; kids use existing blocks of code to build their own creations. As they play, guided by the teacher, they’ll learn about abstract math concepts like graphing and vectors, turning those concepts into real things — like games they can download on their phones — and seeing how their code changes the outcomes of their projects.
Coding is a fun intro to Math
Abstract thinking is a big part of coding, and unlike math, coding is flexible — there is more than one way to solve a problem when you’re coding applications and games. That sort of flexibility gives kids the ability to test their code and experiment with different kinds of apps as they learn more and more about coding.
Even mistakes, which can be frustrating in math, can be fun. Kids learn that mistakes are a natural part of coding — every piece of software needs to be debugged. That’s why our teachers work with kids until the kids are able to solve their own problems. The class also celebrates kids’ triumphs and mistakes with a bug party — a whole class devoted to finding and fixing mistakes.
At Tekkie Uni, our instructors encourage kids to make every project their own, while teaching valuable skills that will let them build their own real app. Enroll your child in our live online coding classes today and help them develop abstract thought.
Sign up for two free classes today.