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Is there a modern Logo? a math learning language for kids?

  • I'm looking for a simple programming language for my 11 year old daughter to learn. I'll explain a little about what I'm aiming for so you understand the particular need. She is having a little trouble in math. The schools in our area aren't rated well, and it seems they are just cranking out aimless homework, with no real purpose. She is very intelligent, but I can see she is just trying to apply a bunch of disjointed and unconnected algorithms and processes for calculating, that are basically meaningless on their own. I'm aiming to help her achieve that understanding of how it all fits together, and why any of it matters. That gestalt any programmer can identify with, where math is both a set of tools at your disposal, and an elegant language that describes the world. Admittedly, I believe understanding math is a prerequisite to being a good programmer, and not the other way around, but I also believe an intelligent person trying to program will be forced to grasp math in a deeper way in order to solve programmatic problems.

    When I was a child, they had us play with Logo, to make the turtle draw and do interesting things. Is there some newer programming language, or programming environment to aid young minds in discovering the world of logic and math? Preferably something fun and easy to jump into. Any other ideas for helping a child grasp the overall purpose and interconnectedness of math that aren't strictly programming language related are welcome as well.

    Construct doesn't fit the bill because it's too easy to use, you don't need to use math at all unless you're doing something really complex, and if you're doing that, you need to already have a good understanding of math.

  • Greetings Exalted One.

    At first I'd ve suggested you Python, but I remember your thoughts against it.

    Second I found these sources:

    • The kid's programming language, or its successor:

    http://phrogram.com/kpl.aspx

    • A multimedia programming kit:

    http://processing.org/

    -A universities' favorite teaching prog language:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scheme_%28programming_language%29

    May thy daugter's path be deligthful and prosperous.

  • Logo is still around, and there are modern, up-to-date versions around, I'm sure. It's probably ideal. I'd stick to that! It's a "real" (typed with syntax) programming language, and simple and fun enough to get kids hooked.

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  • Microsoft's Small Basic is worth a look.

    http://smallbasic.com/

  • ruby?

    http://www.ruby-lang.org/en/

    the thing I like the most is their online compiler tutorial

    http://tryruby.org/

  • Html is not exactly a programing language, but its a good starting point, everybody needs some at some point, and there's not much math involved.

    Plus from there you can graduate to php, or something similar.

  • Html is not exactly a programing language, but its a good starting point, everybody needs some at some point, and there's not much math involved.

    Plus from there you can graduate to php, or something similar.

    HTML marks which parts of a page are bold, and which parts are italic, and whether a specific bit of text is annoyingly flashing. It's literally useless for messing around with maths. He wants something involving maths.

  • I take it you've never tried to slice an image up using tables, or create a template using css.

  • HTML is more aimed at specifying the layout of a document. You can call that a programming language or not, but something like Logo better teaches logical thinking (and geometry) IMHO.

  • I've looked at LOGO in the past, but I've never used it for anything. It does look to be a good first step.

    That said, my first programming language was commodore 64 BASIC, and I think it was great for beginning programmers, aside from the prevalence of the much disparaged GOTO statement.

    A slightly more modern basic that I liked, which still has a good following is QBASIC. It is a bit better at relating well to the more modern programming languages. Small Basic looks to be a good modern solution, to me.

    A couple of links I had related to this, that you may want to read:

    http://tedfelix.com/cs4kids/

    http://www.tedfelix.com/qbasic/

    Good luck! I think you have a good idea, there.

  • The conclusion of this thread would interest me.

    I am a fan of language discussions.

  • I'm a little late to the discussion, but:

    Matlab.

    tailor made for math, simple to understand and use.

  • thank you all for all your help

    And since someone expressed interest in the conclusion, I'll explain it although its not strictly programmatic.

    In the end I decided what she needed most was a reinforcing of everything that's come before. I bought two books off of amazon highly rated for making math fun, and practical, and for thoroughly covering all topics from basic arithmetic through middle school math. I'm rewarding the completion of chapters with "points" she can use to buy things like getting out of chores, or new ds games once she collects enough. I got the points idea from a talk on TED where it was mentioned a professor at a university increased student performance by turning it into a game , where you got points for completing assignments, scoring well on tests, etc. As an aside, its worked wonders. I took my kids from complaining about having to walk the dogs, to fighting over who could clean up the accidents on the carpet for ten points.

    I'm going to allow the use of computer aid once she has a grasp of how to do something on paper. This idea is also from a TED talk by wolfram himself, suggesting that forcing people to work through everything by hand was stunting their performance and interest in math, and that technology has evolved so that knowing how to do it by hand should take a back seat to accelerating through all the various fields of math, and being able to apply it with the aid of a machine.

    In the end, once she has progressed far enough to make it interesting, I think will use construct afterall, and have her complete challenges that require a firm grasp of logic to solve. Maybe once she gets the basics down, I will have her construct a logo clone to mess around with

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    sounds awesome, let us know how it goes

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