Open Access from Teaching Statistics: M in CoMputational thinking: How long does it take to read a book?

Every week, we select a recently published Open Access article to feature. This week’s article is from the recent Teaching Statistics special issue on Re-thinking Learners’ Reasoning with Non-traditional Data and provides context for computational thinking through a primary classroom investigation example.  

The article’s abstract is given below, with the full article available to read here.

Fry, K.Makar, K., and Hillman, J.M in CoMputational thinking: How long does it take to read a book? Teach. Stat. 45 (2023), S30– S39. DOI 10.1111/test.12348

Even at the primary level, computational thinking (CT) can support young students to prepare for participating in futures that are immersed in data. In mathematics classrooms, there are few explanations of the ways CT can support students in formulating and solving complex problems. This paper presents an example of a primary classroom investigation (8-9 year olds) over seven lessons of the problem “How long does it take to read a book?” The aim is to illustrate ways a statistical investigation can provide context for CT and demonstrate how the two complement each other to solve problems involving mathematics. The findings highlight opportunities and challenges that students face across the elements of CT—decomposition, abstraction, pattern recognition and modelling, and generalization and algorithmic thinking, including recommendations for teaching.

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