Computer programming has the potential to support young children in learning mathematics, while also helping them to develop and reveal their computational thinking. A computer program is active and allows children to gain experience before formality—doing, getting feedback, building experience, and “debugging” their own thinking. Yet more research is needed to identify effective strategies to blend programming and mathematics learning for young children.
Through the Think Math+C project, EDC is advancing knowledge of how to integrate a mathematics curriculum and computing to support children’s learning in developmentally appropriate ways. Using microworlds designed with the block-based language Snap!, children gain experience with core mathematics content for grade 2, such as adding and subtracting on the number line, place values, moving along a map by comparing distances, and building arrays.
In collaboration with its partners, EDC is carrying out the following activities:
- Designing and developing microworlds aligned to grade 2 mathematics content
- Piloting microworlds and soliciting feedback from students, teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators on design and usability
- Conducting and analyzing student interviews to investigate how grade 2 students engage in computational thinking in the microworlds
- Four microworlds have been fully developed and tested, and they are available online for classroom use.
- Over 70 students and 6 teachers have participated in the initial professional development and testing of the microworlds.
- The project has provided other programmers and educators with the generic infrastructure to create their own microworlds in Snap!.
Horizon Research, Inc.