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What is computational thinking?

Problem solving process that includes a number of characteristics, such as logically ordering and analyzing data and creating solutions using a series of ordered steps (or algorithms)

Computational Process:
Decomposition: Breaking down data, processes, or problems into smaller, manageable parts
Pattern Recognition: Observing patterns, trends, and regularities in data
Abstraction: Identifying the general principles that generate these patterns
Algorithm Design: Developing the step by step instructions for solving this and similar problems

Activities to Do at Home

  • Organize Clean Dishes Computationally
  • Warm and Fuzzy Sorting Game
  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Backseat Code Driver

 

Organize Clean Dishes Computationally

The STEM way of organizing clean dishes

What are the Learning Outcomes?

  • Optimization
  • Sequencing
  • Conditionals

What age is it for?

 4-11 year olds

How to Play

Time to unload clean dishes from dishwasher to put them in the most accessible drawers and cabinets. 

There are too many clean dishes to put away. let your children brainstorm and come up with solutions while applying computational thinking concepts and practices.

First thing: Have a back and forth conversations. What is the most accessible and efficient way to put clean dishes in drawer and cabinets? In doing so, each family member can grab any dishes they need in the future.

For example, if you need a fork, spoon, bowl, or plate, it should be at the most accessible place to find.

Step 1: Getting strategic

Instead of unloading the dishwasher, allow your children to unload the dishwasher and put clean dishes in the most accessible place.

Start asking questions like, what is your task here? What can your children do to solve it the most optimum way?

Step 2: Conditional Statements

Tell your children that it’s time to put their strategic plan in action. For example, will it really be the most optimum place to put fork or coffee maker? If you place the fork in the top drawer… then…

Step 3: Reflection

Encourage your child to reflect as they organize. When they completed organizing, have them go through the cabinets and drawers to have experience if there is any challenging.

 


 

Warm and Fuzzy Sorting Game

Get Computational While Doing Your Laundry

 

What are the Learning Objectives?

By the end of this game, children will be able to:

  • Learn decomposition
  • Learn categorizing
  • Understand computational thinking concept: (Sequencing)

What age is it for?

 4-11 year olds

How to Play

When you find yourself with a huge, huggable pile of socks, shirts, and jeans that comes out of the dryer. It’s time to play! When you’ve got the clothes out of the dryer, invite your kid to play. You define the piles: A Mommy Pile, A Daddy Pile, A Kid Pile. Now hold up the first item: Where does it go? Your kid must choose right. If they don’t: Beep them! Keep going till your kid has sorted all correctly.

Step 1: The Laundry is Ready!

When a load of laundry has been finished — now it’s time to start the STEM game. Get the warm jumble of clothes out of the machine, and set it down on the bed or the floor. Call for your little one — it is time to play a game!

Step 2: Categorize by Color!

Start with a Color Sort. Have your kid make two piles: one for whites and one for colors. It may not be the most practical categorization, but it’s good for your little one to pick up on color as a key variable. They can even make gradients — from light blue, to medium blue to dark blue. Get them thinking in color categories and helping them understand categorization.

Step 3: Sort by Function

Now let’s layer on another categorization. It’s not about the color any more. Now it’s about the function! Which things cover up our feet? Which cover up our bellies? Which cover up our butts? Your little one has to re-sort, based on the type of clothes. 


 

Tic Tac Toe

Strategic Problem Solving

If tic-tac-toe were as simple as it seems, why has it been around for over 3,000 years? Our version has evolved a bit since the original version in ancient Egypt, However, what it teaches kids hasn’t changed.

What are the Learning Objectives?

  • Understanding of predictability
  • Problem solving
  • Spatial reasoning
  • Strategizing

What age is it for?

All ages

How to Play

To place an X on a square, answer the question correctly. After your turn, your opponent will place an O on the board. Get three X’s in a row (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) before your opponent gets three O’s in a row to win the game.


 

Backseat Code Driver 

Think like a computer engineer and be the GPS

What are the Learning Objectives?

  • Logical Reasoning
  • Sequencing
  • Optimization
  • Conditionals

What age is it for?

 4-11 year olds

How to Play

The next time you’re on a familiar route with your child, drive it computationally. 

Tell your child: You must be the guide to get use to the destination. 

But they have only have 5 commands to use: Straight, left, right, stop, go. Try (while following traffic laws) to drive exactly as they command.

Step 1: The Great Power Shift

Before starting your car engine, tell your child — You are now the driver (though only from the backseat)! You have the power to command this car. I will drive only based on what you say.

Lay down the basic rules. Your kid has only five things they can say. STRAIGHT. LEFT. RIGHT. STOP. GO.

And, remind them — if you tell me to do anything unsafe or illegal, I will override your commands. So be careful!

Step 2: We’re In Motion

Start the engine. Tell your child where you are trying to go. The destination is set!

Now the challenge is theirs. How can they use their five commands to get you there?

Step 3: Getting the Route Right

As they get in the rhythm of the commands, keep following along. If they take you an incorrect route, follow it — but also ask them: Is this the right way? What did you tell me to do? Are you sure that is the right command to give?