MATHEMATICS & ALGORITHMIC THINKING
Algorithmic thinking skills can be developed and improved through play-based activities including maths concepts.
- Geometry and the sense of space.
In primary school, Algorithmic Thinking activities and games can focus on spatial and measurement education. The sense of space concerns the relationships of right/left, above/below, specularity, symmetry, repetition, rhythm, distance, and measure. For the development of these competencies, Algorithmic Thinking is essential. One can start with unplugged games and scenarios. These include the activity of mapping the classroom, the school, and the garden. Sports or physical education games involve recognition of position, space between children, and distances. Children can learn to ‘unpack’ assigned tasks by drawing the steps they need to take to get to the solution. Or they can reproduce them through an exercise, a dance, a game.
They can then move on to use Scratch where skills of space, measurement, and symmetry are brought into play. (Grover and Pea, 2013).
- Algorithmic Thinking and the Sense of Time
As far as arithmetic is concerned, one can start by educating the sense of time, using clocks or various games. In this way, you can begin to plan the day with the children, drawing up a programme and breaking it down into various activities, assigning names and times.
In addition, the use of small robots (e.g. Lego WeDo 2.0) will involve mathematical concepts as a whole.
In a research activity, KIBO robotic kit was used to improve the algorithmic thinking skills of preschool children by using the geometrical shapes (circle, square and triangle) and numbers together with other learning areas (Bers, González-González & Armas-Torres, 2019). This study observed that robots can be used to improve Maths skills of children (age-appropriate) and they can be integrated with each other through play-based activities.
In the study carried out by Highfiled (2010), the robotic toys Bee-Bots and Pro-Bots were used and 33 children attending preschool participated in the activity. In the end, the results showed that the integration of robotic toys into the preschool learning activities supported with engaging tasks fostered children’s mathematical thinking and sustained engagement.
In the study, Mısırlı & Komis (2014) carried out, it was observed that the application of learning scenarios in preschools could help develop the knowledge of children about the preliminary concepts of programming by programmable toys. Employing the cognitive potential developed mathematical skills as well as programming and problem-solving skills.