Producers from WGBH and Kentucky Educational Television and researchers from EDC have been collaborating on the research and development of brand-new computational thinking activities for preschoolers! These fun hands-on activities and apps (not yet published) were all created as part of a research project funded by the National Science Foundation called Integrating Computational Thinking into Mathematics Instruction in Rural and Urban Preschools.
Not sure what computational thinking means? Computational thinking (CT) is a creative way of thinking that empowers children to use systematic strategies while solving problems or reaching a goal. CT allows children to identify problems/goals and then brainstorm and generate solutions that can be communicated and followed by computers or humans.
CT can be learned at a young age, and it can be practiced in non-programming contexts (in other words, without a computer). CT is not the same thing as coding or computer programming—instead, it’s a stepping stone that can help children learn these important skills when they get older. Practicing CT skills can also benefit children by strengthening their early math skills.
As children do these activities and play these apps, they will be practicing basic math skills, including: counting, one-to-one correspondence, ordinals, sequencing, and identifying geometric shapes. At the same time, they will be learning three core CT skills: sequencing, debugging, and modularity.
Check out the project in this video.
© 2019 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved. Funding provided by the National Science Foundation. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1640135. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.