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From Psychology to Logic: Learning Computer Programing in the Kitchen

From MIT BLOSSOMS, a video series dedicated to high school mathematics and science instruction, comes this innovative lesson that engages students with computer programing through a series of hands-on activities. In this particular video lesson, Tanzeena Ali, a computer science student at Superior University in Pakistan, presents a series of problem solving activities centered around the simple task of making a mango milkshake. Throughout this presentation, Ali poses a series of questions that high school students would be able to answer quickly: How do I determine which mango in the bowl has the greatest mass? How do I arrange my jars from tallest to shortest? As students work collaboratively to solve this problem, their challenge is to represent their problem solving strategy in a way that a computer program could understand. Through each task, Ali demonstrates programming skills and concepts including variable swapping, sorting an array, and finding the max of an array. The lesson that Ali models in the video is aimed at "those students who know the syntax of programming in any language (C or GWBASIC preferred), but are unable to build the logic for a program." This video lesson is accompanied by a teacher's guide for those who may want to adapt the lesson to better fit the needs of their classroom.
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