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Coding in Maths

Started by mholincoln 23 May 2013 9:26am () Replies (8)

Hi folks

I'm HOD Maths at lincoln High school (Christchurch).

Have you seen this TED talk video? http://www.ted.com/talks/conrad_wolfram_teaching_kids_real_math_with_computers.html

With kids starting to do more BYOD I'm seeing more students who love coding (and they are bringing their laptops to class) so I want to take advantage of this and get them to try and turn any of the processes we do into code. I'm only starting to do it with some year 9 students but I wonder if anyone else has experience in this. I have some coding experience in the distant past but I really see a need for more of it. Does anyone have some thoughts or experience in this area?


Mitch Howard


  • Ben Hilliam (View all users posts) 23 May 2013 11:49am ()

    Hi Mitch, 

    Good to hear from you. I'm Ben, ex-St Bede's acting HOF and member of CMA exec if you remember me. Mention me to Jeremy too, say hi from me. 

    I am now at Springbank School up  north and have fallen into teaching ICT as well as Maths. With my junior  ICT classes I often use Small Basic as an intro into Coding. It also links nicely with a lot of Mathematics. The turtle show function of it allows students to make basic Logo (and old programing language) designs. It is a completely free Microsoft piece of software and basically the new version of Q-Basic if you ever used that back in the day. 

    I also dabbled a bit with programming casio fx-9850. It's programing language is pretty easy and most year 11-13s in NZ have one. I personally got a kick out of writing a program to evaluate pi to a few dp.

    Great to have a post on VLN! I think we really need to start this thing cranking, because NZ schools are about to experience an unprecidented shift in the way they operate with BYOD becoming widespread.


  • mholincoln (View all users posts) 23 May 2013 4:47pm ()

    Thanks Ben Great to hear from you, good to see you are not completely lost to us. Jeremy says hi as well.  I was chatting to one of our year 10 ICT teachers who was showing me some of the stuff they do which really got me thinking about this. So much of what they were doing was just maths. LOGO is a great idea for Geometry as well, I'll check out Small basic. We have a bunch of CAS calculators here which I have given out to my year 9 extension class with the hope some of them can do a bit of programming. Even if just the keen ones are trying to automate some of the processes we do.

  • Stephen McConnachie (View all users posts) 24 May 2013 4:37pm ()

    I haven't done much but would be keen to... I did a bit of MATLAB coding at uni, so I get the concept of coding, but haven't done any coding since and I have no experience with actual coding languages that would be useful for the classroom. If you know someone who would be keen to share the basics I'd be keen to learn :)

    I saw coding used really effectively at the AEC conference in Ireland a couple of years ago. They had a system set up where students used Scratch to write a program that then interpreted input from an XBox camera to control the character on the screen - simple move left/move right commands or more complex stuff. Apparently all that was required was Scratch and a special adaptor for the XBox camera (and obviously the camera itself). I was inspired but have no experience coding so couldn't do anything with it! I can think of all sorts of applications for that in Maths though. For example, in addition to the coding stuff you could use it to teach coordinate systems for the camera input. 

    Just throwing it out there, I don't have the knowledge in this area to do anything further with it...

  • Ben Hilliam (View all users posts) 18 Jun 2013 3:08pm ()

    Hey Mitch and others,

    I found this cool site: http://projecteuler.net/ called Project Euler. It is a set of Mathematical problems that require some degree of programming knowledge. I had a go at the first one using Small Basic and I got it! I think we are talking your higher end independent thinkers here, but great potential to foster some programming/maths skills.


  • Stephen McConnachie (View all users posts) 19 Jun 2013 9:29pm ()

    I just stumbled across these sites that you may find useful:

    https://twitter.com/mykidcancode - worth checking out
    http://www.erikswan.net/web_resources/ (for web coding/development)
    http://paper.li/chrisleach78/1351934371#!education - this looks promising but I can only find one article. There may be more if you hunt but I'll leave it to you :P

  • Stephen McConnachie (View all users posts) 26 Jun 2013 7:54pm ()

    This may interest you as a beginners' step for programming / coding. I hadn't heard of SNAP! before, but it's a browser-based Java coding environment very similar to Scratch. It runs in a browser (which Scratch now does too with its recent update to 2.0 - it used to run in a standalone application) and works on iPads (which Scratch doesn't, as far as I know). Check this out:


    It's less "coding" and more "programming" (like Scratch) but thought this might be a good-ish place to post it.

  • Stephen McConnachie (View all users posts) 06 May 2014 11:39am ()

    Check out this tweet

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