Familiarity with data science has become one of the fundamental building blocks of a contemporary education. Further, introducing its tenets at an early age can help children be more successful in other disciplines as well. The key is to introduce the subject in a manner that is easy for them to comprehend. With that in mind, here are some tips for teaching data science to kids.
Pattern Recognition and Analysis
Patterns are an innate aspect of data science. Moreover, pattern analysis is a critical aspect of informed decision-making in general. Look for opportunities to help younger children see patterns in everyday things. As an example, you can have them seek items that are similar in size color, shape, or some other common trait. As an example, they can collect flowers that are the same type or rocks that are similar in color and group them accordingly. In this way, you can introduce the concept of data analysis, using objects to which they can immediately relate.
The subject can be incorporated into pretty much any other topic. For example, when discussing means of getting from place to place, you can ask students how many of them get to school by foot, car, bus, bike, etc. You can then show them how to create a graph depicting the results, so they can visualize the data. When the graph is complete, they’ll see which mode of transportation is most common among their classmates, which, in turn, is a key aspect of data analysis. Once the graph is complete, you can ask them why they think more kids get to school by car than on foot, or whatever the case may be. Exercises like this can serve to illustrate how data science is at work in ways they may not have previously considered.
Forecasting and Extrapolation
Once a pattern such as the one above is identified, you can ask kids to predict certain outcomes based upon the data they’ve observed. For example, given that some kids walk, others ride the bus, and still others are driven, you can ask them to extrapolate which kids would have to leave home first to get to school on time. Would the kids who walk have to leave home earlier than the kids who are driven or ride the bus? Why, or why not? Getting them to think about these things can show them how data can be used to provide insight as well as foresight.
Game-based coding entertains kids even as it acquaints them with the foundations of computing. Coding games such as the ones you’ll find here at Tynker are at once challenging and encouraging. Allowing kids to play these data-science-related games online at their own pace, with minimal supervision, gives them an opportunity to become comfortable with the concepts while having fun. In the meantime, they’ll be enhancing their critical thinking, problem-solving, pattern-finding, and data analysis skills. The interest developed here can then be carried forward into block-based coding with which they can complete tasks of increasing complexity as they progress.
These tips for teaching data science to kids will help them improve their problem-solving, analytical, logical, and creative skills— while learning the latest data science practices. Using these methods, you can begin teaching kids the fundamentals of data science at a very early age, often without them realizing you are doing so. The key is to make the subject relatable to things they already understand. Then, as they get older, you can start to introduce more advanced methods such as coding and the like.
Activity-based learning helps children absorb and retain concepts while enjoying themselves. This is key to instilling a love of learning, even as you help them develop their data science skills. Explore Tynker’s Data Science with Python course at the link below.
Need something simpler? You can also find Tynker’s informational videos explaining data analysis for an elementary audience. Sample it for free on YouTube!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Coding Good For Kids?
We’re living during a high-tech revolution, witnessing life-changing advancements in medicine, environmental conservation, and much more. At the core of all these amazing projects and discoveries is CODE. Code can be the thing that differentiates your child from peers and allows them to stand out as an asset for companies when they are looking for employment. The children who learn to code today will become the creators of the technology tomorrow. Learning to code can help children make a major contribution to the world that they live in and make a lasting impact.
As kids and teens learn to code, they also build essential skills like critical thinking, logic, and problem solving. They learn to logically sequence events, create playable games, tell good stories, and model real situations. They also learn computational thinking by developing algorithmic and design thinking abilities. Coding for kids has become an essential element of a child’s education and an excellent way to express their creativity and imagination.
How Do I Start My Child Coding?
Coding, otherwise known as programming, is a creative activity for all children. Your child might not care about writing data processing algorithms, but they might enjoy creating games, programming music, designing websites, or just playing with code. Learning to code is for everyone; you don’t have to be good at math or a “techie” to learn how to code. Kids as young as five can learn to code and pick it up faster than most adults.
When your kids are starting, pick a program like MIT’s Scratch or Tynker Junior app. The visual style of these programs makes it easy for young children to learn to code. Scratch and Tynker have a graphical interface that works. Drag-and-drop code blocks snap together. Pieces of code that don’t make computational sense won’t fit together, making syntax errors impossible.
Older children can learn to code with Python by building games, art, music, and more. Some programs like Tynker offer a placement test to set your child on the right track for their age and experience level.
What Age Is Best To Introduce Coding To Kids?
Every child learns at their own pace. They can learn different subjects at varying rates and ways. Experts believe that children should learn coding at an early age. According to MIT, the best age for kids to start learning coding languages such as Scratch Jr. or Tynker Jr. is from 5 to 7. Many programs allow your children to progress at their own pace or hire an instructor to help them move along.
Which Is The Best Coding For Kids Program?
With so many great services available, learning to code has never been easier! For example, Scratch and Tynker provide innovative visual coding languages that make coding fun. Coding is a great way to broaden your child’s worldview and develop their creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Here is a few coding-for-kids options to review:
Game-based learning—Game-based platforms such as Tynker and the challenges on Code.org motivate kids to use code to complete game levels.
Independent learning with Scratch—Scratch from MIT is a great way of getting started with code. Although they don’t have courses, there’s a vibrant community to learn from.
Build an app—Learn to build your own iOS app using Swift. Install the Swift Playgrounds app by Apple.
Use a book—Learn by following along with books like Mission Python, Super Scratch Programming Adventure, or Coding with Minecraft. Tynker has a series of super-informative coding activity books, including Code These Games, Code These Minecraft Mods, and Code This Art.
Why Is Coding Needed?
Coding for kids lays the groundwork for our world’s technology, from microprocessors in everyday items like refrigerators and water heaters to sophisticated programs that run our cars and buildings. Learning to code is a great opportunity for children of all ages to develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills, while building the necessary focus and organization to see projects through to completion.
From online coding courses and games to offline learning, from in-person coding instruction to live online tutoring, there are endless coding resources available. The best coding platforms and programs like Scratch, Code.org, and Tynker give children of all ages and experience levels the ability to code while making the process fun and engaging.
Why Should We Use Tynker Coding For Kids?
Tynker is the world’s number one coding platform for children ages 5 to 18 for a reason—it works! Tynker powers the creativity of over 60 million students and serves thousands of schools and educators worldwide.
Tynker’s award-winning, gamified courses and coding for kids activities encourage kids to complete projects as they have fun, allowing them to progress from novices to experts using languages like Python. Tynker’s interactive lessons have built-in tutorials for all ages and skill levels. Our highly rated mobile app (4.7 stars) lets students take Tynker on the go. Learning how to code with Tynker unlocks and empowers children’s creativity, teaching them life-long skills they can use today and into the future.
How Do I Teach My 7-Year-Old Code?
Learning to code is for everyone; you don’t have to be good at math or a “techie” to learn how to code. Kids as young as five can learn to code and pick it up faster than most adults. Tynker Junior is a fun, interactive way to spark your kid’s interest in coding. Kids (ages 5-7) learn coding basics by connecting picture blocks to move their characters. Tynker’s immersive game-like coding courses and interactive lessons with built-in tutorials are perfect for beginners 5+ through experts 18+.
What Options Are There For Coding For Teens?
Code.org has a yearlong course in Computer Science Principles that introduces students to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can impact the world.
Tynker has coding for kids courses that align with subject standards like CCSS-ELA, CCSS-Math, NGSS and CS standards such as CSTA, ISTE, CA CS, UK National Curriculum, and several state-level standards like TEKS.
Tynker is recognized by College Board as an endorsed curriculum provider for AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A.