The 4 C’s Needed for the 21st Century: Critical Thinking

Last Updated: November 26, 2018 1:38 pm
The 4 C’s Needed for the 21st Century: Critical Thinking

The 4 C’s Needed for the 21st Century: Critical Thinking

This holiday season, give the young people in your life opportunities to develop key 21st century skills like critical thinking and problem solving! In this second installment of our 4 C’s series (missed our post about creativity?), you’ll learn how Tynker helps kids develop critical thinking skills as they solve challenges using block-based coding and real-world programming languages.

Understand cause and effect relationships, and make strategic choices based on this knowledge. When a child manipulates block-based code in Tynker, they have to choose the code blocks that will give them the results they want. Similarly, when an advanced programmer is writing code in Tynker’s Code Editor, they learn that mistakes in code syntax lead to problems in the project they’re creating.

Kids come to understand that, unlike communicating in most spoken languages, if a mistake is made when writing in a programming language, the recipient of the message–the computer–can’t ask for clarification or understand what we mean based on “context.” There’s a higher degree of specificity, of correctness, required. This is similar to performing the correct order of operations when completing a math problem: If a student does not solve the problem using the correct order of functions, the answer will not be accurate.

Practice creativity by making original projects. Tynker activities feature tutorials that kids follow to complete project tasks, such as cloning leaves in one of our recent seasonal projects. But when coders design an original project in Tynker, sources of inspiration vary from favorite animals and sports stars to fictional characters, stories, and beyond. To bring their creative vision to life, kids need to draw on their understanding of how the code blocks or lines of code work and then experiment with those elements. It’s in this creative space that kids can take risks and re-adjust their coding strategies as desired.

Synthesize: Make cool projects by building on others’ ideas.  Tynker’s Community Board allows users to tap into the wealth of coding experience offered by young coders around the globe. Kids can opt to remix others’ projects and save a new copy of the product, personalized according to their vision of what the code can accomplish within a given project. And remixing others’ projects gives kids yet another source of inspiration for their own future projects.

By developing critical thinking skills through coding, kids are preparing for success in school and their future careers. Most school subjects involve both following rules and creatively using them to generate new products. For example, in math and English classes, students need to learn formulas (think: the order of operations, how to write a sentence) and understand how to use those rules to generate unique solutions when solving real-world math problems or writing their own story.

Our future as a society will bring a host of challenges, and kids will be more ready to contribute when they can assess available data and come up with solutions through trial and error. Will your child use her critical thinking skills to come up with new ways to generate clean energy? Or leverage robot technology to help the elderly?

Tynker offers 2,000+ interest-driven activities to introduce kids to the exciting world of coding. Whether they want to battle with friends in Crystal Clash, edit Python pages, or explore careers while coding with Barbie, the gift of a Tynker subscription will help them develop the critical thinking skills they’ll need —now and in the future!

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About Tynker

Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.