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Learning to code: do I need to be good at Math?

Do you regularly use the cool software or play games like ‘Angry birds’ or watch animated movies like ‘Ice age’, ‘Shrek’, ‘Cars’? Do you use Xbox, or Wii or Playstation? Chances are you have done one or more of these things at least once or more times in your life.

All these animated movies, games, consoles have one common thing, Software Code. They all have some kind of programming that runs them. All those cool characters and cars run as they have some geeky code behind them.

Most people fear coding and feel that it is kind of a monster, which needs super intelligent people and excellent Math skills. . Is it really true?

Let’s start with some games. I believe kids learn faster in an entertaining environment.

http://www.ecogiochi.it/giochi-gratis-online/puzzle/magic-pen/

http://www.ebog.com/racing-games/10759/mad-monkey-mike.html

At times, it is actually difficult to explain kids about computer programs or how challenging it is to just make a simple button press work. Expecting huge breakthroughs prior to a particular age is unrealistic. Language like JavaScript is not recommended at a very early stage. Instead, go for Logo. It is simple and powerful educational programming language. It is basically a turtle on a canvas and a command console. You just command the turtle and it follows. It is absolutely attractive to the kids. This would definitely help them get into the language world. Leading to interest in learning other difficult ones.

Scratch is another common programming language downloaded more than a million times. However, I would recommend that for a little older group. As parents, we should understand that every child is different and so is their understand level. Real analytical skills often appear after the age of 11.

Now let us see how important is mathematics in computer programming

Machines do not understand words. Programmers communicate with PCs using numbers. Developing a mathematical understanding of data organization, number sequencing and logic is essential in order to acquire good programming skills.

Recently, I came across a very simple example stating the importance of math in programming. Suppose you go to an ice cream parlor. The owner does not know about the most popular flavors, or if he has in stock your favorite.  He does not understand how many combinations of flavors are possible. You would prefer to try some other outlet. Right!

Now, suppose the owner has a simple computer program that stores all the data. He knows if he has your favorite ice cream in stock. In addition, probably he would order for the same, before the stock finishes. Just to make you happy!! His program can also suggest new combinations for you to try. Doesn’t that sound tempting!! Well, this so very simple thing requires instructions to be given by the programmer. The simplest detail has to be told to the computer, like to count each ice cream order. Permutation and combination are other mathematical concepts that a programmer needs to understand. Calculations are also important in the science of computers. Geometry is used in the development of graphics.

Curious!! We all would like to know how the characters in the movie Cars actually move. Or how do we get to play a video game. Believe me, this is very exciting rather than just sitting and playing such games.

Many such interesting details to follow. Keep an EYE!!!

    Hardik Parikh is the Co-founder of PracTutor. PracTutor is a personalized fun way to master Common Core Math and English. All kids – whether they need intervention, accelerated learning or career and college readiness – can achieve their goals within PracTutor.