Computational Thinking and problem solving

by Miles Berry

Computational thinking (CT) describes a way of looking at problems and systems so that a computer can be used to help us solve or understand them. Computational thinking is not only essential to the development of computer programs, but can also be used to support problem solving across all disciplines.

You can teach CT to your students by getting them to break down complex problems into smaller ones, (decomposition), to recognize patterns (pattern recognition), to identify the relevant details for solving a problem (abstraction); or setting out the rules or instructions to follow in order to achieve a desired outcome (algorithm design). CT can be taught across different disciplines, for instance in Mathematics (figure out the rules for factoring 2nd-order polynomials), Literature (to break down the analysis of a poem into analysis of meter, rhyme, and structure), Languages (find patterns in the ending letters of a verb that affect its spelling as tense changes) and many others.

In this video, Miles Berry, Principal Lecturer at University of Roehampton School of Education at Guildford (United Kingdom), will introduce the concept of computational thinking and the different ways a teacher can integrate it in the classroom with simple games.

Download the video script

Ready to share what you learnt with your students?

Choose one of the lesson plans below and organize an activity with your students.

Do not forget to add your activity to the Code Week Map!

You can easily organize a lesson in your classroom, an open day, or an event at your school. Just find a date and register your activity in the Code Week map. Each activity organizer will get a certificate of participation for their effort.

If you would like to connect with an international group of enthusiastic teachers, join the EU Code Week Facebook group for teachers! To take a step further and collaborate with other schools in your country or across borders – join the Code Week 4 All challenge.