On Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 12:09 PM, kirby urner <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
<< SNIP >>
One of the first logical constructs the kids encounter, is around 2nd grade. They get to play games that teach about "do loops" (repeat these steps), which come back in Algebra in connection with the Greek letter sigma. We also find them in music.
A few grades later, they've already had lots of experience with an XY grid (2 dimensions) and also some XYZ (3 dimensions), spending ample time in MIT Scratch, then moving to HTML, SVG and the canvas object, controlled through JS (5th grade).
Some XY grids have an origin at the canvas center (using "art terms" like canvas is embraced), whereas SVG puts (0,0) in the upper left, more like the DOM (document object model).
Students learn from many examples that one needs to get clear on:
A) where's the origin? B) what's the unit? (or gauge) C) what's the orientation? (which way is "north" or "up"?)
Likewise, on this same topic, students learn to control their cursor, turtle, avatar, self using both:
A) relative position ("forward 10") B) absolute position ("move to -4, 14")
The SVG markup language contains a thorough mini-language for controlling the path of any pen, sprite or stroke using these Logo-like turtle commands. These curves or paths may be the output of plotting functions.
The Martian Math angle is more about sparking discussion and debate, giving students practice verbalizing about all these computational concepts. Our alternative not-XYZ coordinate system (quadrays) and non-conventional model of 2nd & 3rd powering (ala New England Transcendentalism) provide anthropological distance and perspective on "Earthing STEM" as if seen from a distance (from Mars).
Author: Kirby Urner works through Coding with Kids to provide various after school programs in Greater Portland. He used to be a high school math teacher, and worked at McGraw-Hill on computer literacy textbooks. He also provides training in Python to IT professionals. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Princeton University where he worked under Richard Rorty on the foundations of mathematics.