The term “Algorithm” may seem pretty irrelevant to

Algorithms are present all around us, orchestrating everything from technology used by us to the everyday decisions made by us. It’s necessary for your children to have a clear idea of algorithmic concepts before they enter the world of programming. Let’s go through a set of stepwise tips to explain algorithms to children.

This can be deemed the first step to introduce coding to children. Your children should know the definition of “algorithm” before they start writing one.

An algorithm can be said to be a set of detailed step-wise instructions to solve a specific problem or complete a specific task.

It’s necessary for children to think about algorithms in a general sense to get a better understanding of the subject. Algorithms are present everywhere. A simple recipe to make a particular food-item can be said to be a type of algorithm. A simple example of an algorithm based on your children’s weekday morning routine is provided below for an easy reference.

- Start
- Get up
- Shower
- Get dressed
- Eat breakfast
- If weather is “sunny”

Walk to the school

else

Go to the school with parents

7. Stop

You see that this is an algorithm in the general sense depicting your children’s weekday morning routine.

After your children get accustomed to the basic algorithmic concepts in the general sense, it’s necessary that they start thinking of implementing algorithms in computer programming. But remember that this is just the start and hence, their algorithms should be based on simple problems. Introduce them to such simple problems. A simple example can be seen below.

This is an algorithm that finds the sum of three numbers taken as user input.

- Start
- Declare the 3 variables x, y, z, sum /*”sum” is a variable where the summation of the 3 numbers is stored. “x”, “y” and “z” are the variables that store the values taken as user-input*/
- Read the 3 user-input values x, y, z
- Perform the addition of the 3 values taken as user input and store them in sum.

sum= x+y+z

5. Display sum

6. Stop

There are certain techniques implemented for writing good algorithms. Introduce the techniques to your children. These techniques are mentioned below.

- The inputs as well as outputs of an algorithm need to be defined specifically. The programmer needs to keep that in mind while writing an algorithm and do accordingly. Ask your children to implement the same technique in their writing.
- Urge your children to write each step of an algorithm in a clear as well as in an unambiguous manner.
- An algorithm should definitely be the most effective and best way among many ways to get the solution of a specific problem. Advise your children to keep that in mind while writing an algorithm.
- An algorithm should not have any computer code. It should always be written in a manner which can be implemented in many similar coding languages. Advise your children to keep that idea in their minds and implement the same in their writing.

It’s necessary that your children start creating their very own
algorithms after they get introduced to the basics of the subject. The
objective can be very simple. It can be a recipe to cook a meal or it can be
one based on mathematical operations as to determine the **largest
of 3 numbers**. Instruct your children to be
specific with their instructions as much as possible.

Algorithmic thinking is hugely beneficial in STEM education. It’s not only enclosed within the boundaries of computer science but also finds application in subjects like Math (e.g. step-by-step procedures to solve a specific problem), Science (e.g. step-by-step procedures to get the result of an experiment) etc. Algorithmic thinking enables children to come to quick solutions in a step-by-step manner which is immensely beneficial for their higher education when they face advanced problems related to mathematics, science, programming etc.

It’s necessary for children to indulge in practices related to algorithms to strengthen and develop algorithmic thinking abilities. Algorithmic thinking can be the stepping stone to a fruitful career in STEM as well as in other educational fields.