Hot answers tagged

98 votes
Accepted

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

Buffy's lovely answer shows well how two variables can refer to the same thing, but since we are in early cognitive development and working with Scratch, in which you can't pass parameters, and can't ...
Ben I.'s user avatar
  • 33.1k
42 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

My usual explanation is related to names; specifically names of people. People have names. The names are not the people, but can be used to refer to the people. Some people don't have any names at ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 36.1k
26 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

What about You have alot of values that you need to remember, so you put a label on each one (a little piece of paper to remind you what this value means) so you can find the value easily when you ...
DPDP's user avatar
  • 369
15 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

The variable that children are most familiar with is score: whether in computer games, sports or board games, a child will almost certainly understand that a score is a value that is clearly not ...
pbeentje's user avatar
  • 251
15 votes
Accepted

What can Snap! do that Scratch cannot?

The analogy is far from perfect, but Snap! is to Scratch as Mycroft is to Sherlock. For me, the big advantage for Snap! is its provision of custom functions rather than just the custom blocks that ...
Miles's user avatar
  • 1,266
12 votes

Programming language for teenagers

I highly recommend checking out a language called Processing. Processing is designed for novices, and makes it easy to create visual and interactive programs without a ton of boilerplate. Here's an ...
Kevin Workman's user avatar
11 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

Memory is a linear sequence of storage locations. Like a lined sheet of paper. Take a lined sheet of paper and choose a line. In the left margin, write a label. The variable is that label - it ...
user1692597's user avatar
9 votes

Programming language for teenagers

Tl;dr: use python. (Preferably python 3.) Well, I’m a teenager in your age group, so hopefully I’m some level of qualified to respond. I have to say as a bit of a disclaimer that python is my favorite ...
auden's user avatar
  • 4,724
9 votes

What can Snap! do that Scratch cannot?

The middle column is Snap!. In Snap! you can create your own C-shaped blocks, as well as functions (see range block), this is in addition to the procedures that can be done in scratch. Note: I ...
ctrl-alt-delor's user avatar
7 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

I just saw Buffy's answer so all credits to @Buffy and though I could simplify it with one word in a way that 9 year old me would have understood. (Although bear in mind I was also mucking around ...
brandito's user avatar
  • 171
6 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

It might be a bit indirect but around that age I bootstrapped myself from fill in the blank math problems through basic algebra to more generalized variable use. eg I started with having been given ...
Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight's user avatar
6 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

If I remember correctly, Scratch has two kinds of variables - object-bound and global. When teaching my son about Scratch, at the time of introducing variables I told him he had been working with ...
tendays's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes

What can Snap! do that Scratch cannot?

The biggest features Snap! has that Scratch doesn't are first-class EVERYTHING and functions. Scratch only lets you create custom command blocks, not reporter or Boolean blocks. This makes Snap! much ...
Scimonster's user avatar
5 votes

How important is it that I know all of the words for the technical terms when mentoring in my second language?

Words matter. The problem is that the kids need to communicate the ideas to one another and to teachers, etc. They also need a way to integrate their Scratch experience into a larger programming set ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 36.1k
4 votes

Programming language for teenagers

Here's an unlikely answer: Teach them C. You're correct, Scratch will be a turn-off to an average 14 year old. Mid-teens dislike things that seem fake and/or useless, and have a strong aversions to ...
Gorchestopher H's user avatar
4 votes

What kind of game (in Scratch) would require use of a list?

A variant on the usual random drill and practice test would be to pre-populate with the questions and answers, then remove question and answer from each as they get answered correctly, allowing ...
Miles's user avatar
  • 1,266
4 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

If this child plays Minecraft, you can try the following analogies: A variable is like a chest with a sign next to it. You can put stuff into a chest (assignment). This "stuff" in the chest is the ...
Glory to Russia's user avatar
4 votes

How important is it that I know all of the words for the technical terms when mentoring in my second language?

First of all, kudos to you for teaching Scratch to kids! Vocabulary forms tokens of ideas that we can pass on to one another, and it is no coincidence that much of early childhood is spent with a ...
Ben I.'s user avatar
  • 33.1k
4 votes

First Time teaching 6th & 7th grade computer science

Concur with @Ben about HTML5 (see disclaimer, below). Recommend investigating the Computer Science Field Guide (don't be distracted by the TLD, the Curriculum Guides include AP-CSP. (and New Zealand ...
d-n's user avatar
  • 117
3 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

Honestly all these analogies are extremely confusing. The box analogy was the best. I would just add to it. You have a box that has its entrance restricted like those block match toys for babies (to ...
Tyler S. Loeper's user avatar
3 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

On Steam is the game Human Resource Machine. While it is a game it is played using simple programming commands as blocks like Scratch, has an input and output conveyor and several places to hold ...
Guy Coder's user avatar
  • 934
3 votes

Engagement advice on Creative computing

Show them the cool stuff they can do with Scratch. Don't focus on explaining that they can't make a AAA game. Focus on showing them examples of stuff that is engaging and interesting, that they can ...
Kevin Workman's user avatar
3 votes

Programming language for teenagers

I think it largely depends on the kids. If you are proficient in both you might even want to give them a choice (as a class, not individually). Show them a bit of each in the first session and let ...
Buffy's user avatar
  • 36.1k
3 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

There are a number of fine answers already here. This is how I thought of doing it, and it might provide another alternative that should be suitable for a 9 year old, and possibly younger. It should ...
Don Branson's user avatar
2 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

The box analogy seems good to me. If you want to continue the programming "language" analogy, variables are pronouns. In English, we rely on people using context to figure out what a pronoun refers to,...
Acccumulation's user avatar
2 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

In Python, Java, or JavaScript, I talk about the type system as an ecosystem of different species of smart data. Objects are self-aware chunks of memory to which you can send messages and which can ...
ncmathsadist's user avatar
  • 2,329
2 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

I like to explain it as a placeholder. So that I don't have to read and write so much. I have a friend named John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. His name, John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, is my name too....
Jemmeh's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

I find the "box" aspect is far more important than the named aspect. Maybe it's personal bias. However, we can combine the two: it's a named box. So you can say "Go look in the 'object color' box." ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 1,031
2 votes

How to explain the concept of a variable to a 9-year old?

Do you use a dry-erase board anywhere to keep track of chores, or a shopping list? An erasable space is a great way to teach the use of a variable. You can even get into data types! Booleans - eg: ...
Andy Dent's user avatar
  • 211

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible