Use a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich to Introduce Coding to Your Kid

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Categorized under: kids home coding exercises

When you provide a computer with a set of instructions (lines of code) to execute, the machine does not have the ability to interpret context or ask questions to gain additional clarity like we humans do; the computer simply does exactly what it is told. To illustrate this concept, we are going to have your child (programmer) write down the instructions to make-a-sandwich and the parent (computer) will execute the instructions.

Let’s get started…..

Step 1: Child (1 minute) – Pick the type of sandwich (Example: Peanut Butter & Jelly or Grilled Cheese) you would like your parent to prepare.

Step 2: Child (1 minute) - Give your sandwich recipe a name (Example: Mike’s World Famous PB&J Sandwich).

Step 3: Child (5 minutes) - Write down the exact steps (recipe), in detail, your parent will need to follow in order to make the perfect sandwich. Include all ingredients, materials & utensils that will be needed. DO NOT skip any steps.

Step 4: Child (2 minutes) - Review the steps to ensure that if your parent follows the recipe exactly, they will be able to make the sandwich.

Step 5: Parent/Child (5 minutes) - Provide the recipe to your parent and have him/her make the sandwich.  You can not interpret the recipe steps or assume that your child meant for you to do things a certain way. You must literally follow the steps exactly as written. (Example: Unless the recipe specifically tells you to un-wrap the cheese slice, you must place the wrapped cheese slice on the sandwich).

Step 6: Recap (2 minutes) - Once the sandwich is complete, briefly discuss the output with your child using the following questions as a guide:

  • Did you prepare the sandwich as your child expected?
  • Were there any areas where your literal interpretation created preparation challenges?
  • What surprised you about watching your parent follow your recipe?
  • What would you have changed about your instructions to make the recipe easier to follow for your parent?
About the Author: Omowale Casselle ([email protected]) is the Co-founder & CEO of Digital Adventures. Prior to Digital Adventures, Omowale led the development, launch & management of an interactive advertising & marketing platform, SAMPLEit (division of Outerwall, Inc.), in high traffic retail locations (Walmart, Meijer, HEB) that will help consumers trial, discover, and ultimately make more informed choices about their most important purchase decisions. Earlier in his career, Omowale was part of the new product development team that successfully brought industry-leading vehicles to market including Ford Mustang, Ford Fusion, and Ford Escape Hybrid. His passion for continuous learning and development has led to degrees from Harvard Business School (MBA), University of Michigan (MS Engineering), and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (BS Engineering).