[plt-scheme] re: Dr scheme for grade school kids?

From: ian barland (a land brain) (ian at cs.rice.edu)
Date: Sun Oct 3 16:34:59 EDT 2004

Corey Sweeney writes:
> however has anyone ever through of makeing so the pics can be used as
> symbols?  So like:
>  ...
Wow, this is intriguing.  I think visual learners (esp. when younger)
do stumble with text variable names.  (Sometimes when teaching algebra,
I've use smiley-face and block-head as variables, and it seems 
to help some students understand the abstraction.)

- I agree w/ Neil, I'd stay away from container-esque pictures.
- I suspect that initially just focusing on pics for function-parameters 
  would be a win.
  Though like Neil, I'd also lament the loss of a descriptive variable name.
  You might use a 'descriptive pic',  e.g. a thermometer as
  the parameter in a function involving temperature, but my instinct
  would be to stick with more abstract icons,
  and segue fairly soon to textual names once the concept is learned.
- Of course, pics-as-placeholders would need to be visually distinct
  from pics-as-values.  No problem; some sort of decorated snip% similar
  to the way comment-boxes are framed.

  (Hmm, it makes me wonder now, why more people don't confuse
  text-as-placeholders with symbols and strings; maybe I've mostly
  taught scheme to people who already have internalized how to
  abstract over simple values.)
'Course I'm just going off at the mouth; it'd be interesting to
talk w/ somebody who studies teaching children math, for their reaction.
(Or at least, somebody who has kids themselves :-)

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