If You Know How to Program…

Recently I have come across a slightly different view of programming. In this view, programming is used as a way of learning Mathematics and other topics.

The premise of books in the Think X series is that if you know how to program, you can use that skill to learn other topics.

from Think Bayes by Allen B. Downey.

I see programming as a way of learning Mathematics.

Recently, several countries have included basic programming in the national curriculum. In some of these countries (such as Estonia and France) programming is placed in direct curricular connection to mathematics, whereas in others (England, and Sweden) programming is related more to a design and engineering agenda. However, in all cases the focus is not on developing general “humanistic” skills with technology, rather it is on thinking in algorithms, writing programs, and developing technology. In other countries such curricular changes are being discussed and tested on a small scale. Hence, it makes sense to take a closer look at the arguments that have previously been proposed for utilising programming in mathematics education.

from Learning Mathematics through Programming

This is a fascinating concept. If we believe in it (after looking at various case studies), teaching kids programming may be a good move. I always thought of programming as a way of thinking and solving problems.


There was a course on Coursera called “Coding the Matrix: Linear Algebra through Computer Science Applications”. But I am not able to locate it now.


List of 100 – A Great Tool for Thinking

There are several cool tools you can use for thinking.  Two of my favorite ones are Mindmaps and Lists.

List of 100 is a great way to really stretch your mind. Here is how you do it.  Take a problem or idea. Create a list of 100 things that come to your mind. In the case of a problem, it may be a hundred ways to solve it.  In the case of an idea it may be a list of hundred thoughts (typically questions related to – Why, What, Who, When, How, Where).

I first came across the List of 100 here. Since then, I have created lists of 100 individually and in groups. We had great fun doing it and learned a lot. List of 100 is both a thinking tool and a group collaboration tool. Give it a try.