Did you know you can actually boost your logical thinking skills with programming? I thought not! Well, the truth is that programming is heavily twisted with logical thinking in so many ways so much so that coding is pretty much impossible without having to strengthen this skill. What’s more interesting is the fact that this relationship is a two-way highway! So one can actually boost their logical thinking abilities by committing to programming activities. That is what we are going to discuss in this article.
Before moving to the main dish, let’s cover some basic ground.
7 Must-Have Qualities For Programmers
So first let’s take a look at 7 major qualities a mastermind programmer must possess in their arsenal. Lacking a couple of these does not mean one can not be a programmer but excelling at more than one definitely helps.
These 7 qualities are:
- Logical Thinking
- Being a Team Player
What Is A Logical Thinker Like?
In this section, we are going to take a deeper look into the qualities of a logical thinker!
Also known as critical thinking, logical thinking is considered to be one of the most important traits of programmers. According to Indeed.com, a logical thinker is a person who can come to rational conclusions through accurate observation of their surrounding situations and feedback. You can read their full article here. They are able to use this data to produce solutions to uncommon problems and generate ideas that are both out of the box and efficient.
Such people are not only excellent programmers, or have the potential to be, they are also essential assets to businesses so much so that it has become one of the major qualities employers seek in their potential candidates.
Generally speaking, those who are good at logical thinking:
- are excellent observers and analyzers
- have objective perspectives on matters
- do not allow emotions to take over their decision making
- generate solutions that are based on concrete facts
- are able to break down the core concepts of their ideas into smaller more comprehensive parts
- do not remain at their solutions but rather, try to optimize them through trial and error
- miss no minor detail
How Programming Improves Logical Thinking
It is a fact that programming is made up of logic! it is also known as the flow or the flowchart of the program. It is something that has to be dictated by the programmer to the computer to follow. We have a full article on what programming is and how it works named “Coding, What It Is and What It Isn’t” where we have deeply explained all you need to know about coding so make sure to check that one as well by clicking here.
Logic is required for developing the steps a computer needs to take in order to perform a certain task. Repeating tasks, making decisions according to the data received to be observed, and even engaging a killswitch will all require a certain logic to be present in the core of the program. Without a minimum sense of logical thinking, the programmer will not be able to transfer the necessary flow into the program even if they are the most expert person in syntax.
Having said that, it is worth mentioning that while possessing this golden ability is necessary for all programmers out there, it is not sufficient on its own. The person coding the program will also have to be able to apply their logic and logical thinking to the code they are writing in order to make things work smoothly and as desired. After all, a program or robot is designed to carry out a human task more quickly and efficiently.
Following the traits of a logical thinker, which we discussed earlier, such soft skills will help the programmer to write much more efficient codes which lead to optimized programs with the least amount of bugs.
5 Ways Programming Activities Boost Logical Thinking
Programming is not just spraying code and syntax all over the place or copy-pasting the code others have already written. It is rather a unique experience of solving problems from a personal point of view. In GeniusCamp our aim is to challenge the GeniusCampers by creating new programs from scratch to make sure they are receiving the right education. That is why we have come up with 5 main steps in order to help our students learn to program like a pro and develop their logical thinking abilities simultaneously.
These steps are:
- Analyzing The Problem
- Sketching A Solution
- Developing Code For The Sketched Solution
- Testing The Solution And Optimizing It
Let’s take a deeper look now.
#1 Analyzing The Problem
A program is not written for fun – at least not most of the time. Putting tasks like studying, trial and error, and general practicing aside, a program is most often created to address a problem. To get computers to help humans in a certain way and overcome the issues at hand. Without knowing the problem sufficiently, solving it is an impossible task!
In GeniusCamp we direct our students to learn to analyze the problem. One of our techniques is pursuing the students to look at it from a variety of directions. This not only helps them to understand what they are dealing with better but also learn to have multi-dimensional points of view on a matter which as discussed earlier, is one of the backbones of logical thinking.
Once the individual has gathered enough information and resources about the problem and has thoroughly analyzed they are ready to move on to the next step.
Now let’s take a look at some of the activities we use during this step.
Directing real-life Programming Tasks
By directing programming tasks that are authentic and applicable in real life, we tend to make the learning procedure pleasant and useful for the GeniusCampers. This may be learning to code simple day-to-day programs like calendars and calculators. Designing games is also another one of these activities that help children boost their logical thinking skills. We are not going to dive into game design but we have already dedicated a full article on the matter so make sure to check it out here.
The instructor will provide a description of the main objectives of the project allowing the students to have their own unique take on what the problem is and how it can be addressed.
Providing Alternative Solutions
We also show our students how some other people have managed to solve the same problem. We do this to show the students alternative takes on the problem and present points of view other than what they had come up with. This way they will learn to expand their observations over time and skyrocket their logical thinking skills.
The syntax is like the grammar and vocabulary we in programming languages to translate our commands into what computers can comprehend.
Another key activity under this section is taking a look at the major lines of code that are necessary for addressing the problem with regard to the data we have already analyzed together. This may be in the form of a table or a cheat sheet. GeniusCampers still have to make the connections by themselves and can not simply outline the code provided in order to get to the final solution.
Having to make this connection is another activity that helps with boosting their logical thinking abilities. This way we are essentially organizing some of the data for them but it is up to them to figure out how to use it logically.
Providing Practice Exercises
Once everything is settled and the students are ready to move to the next step, they will receive some practice exercises on the programming side of things just to make sure everything has fallen into where it should. These also provide another opportunity for revising the material before moving on.
#2 Sketching A Solution
Once all the data is received and carefully observed, it is time for establishing a road map to the program that is to be coded. With all the analysis and exercises that were done in the previous section, the GeniusCampers are now eager to get to work and develop the necessary solution.
Similar to the previous step, we use a large number of activities for this step too. Let’s take a look at a few of those now.
At this point, everybody starts to pour out their creative takes on the matter and share their solutions. These differ greatly depending on the task at hand. Let’s take a website design as an example. in this case, the young learners will be discussing their innovative ideas revolving around what type of content will best suit the website and what information may be required on each individual page.
In the case of making an RPG, the ideas will be more about the characters and the storyline. The general gameplay, trophies and the environment will be what come next.
Brainstorming allows the students to take a look at the pros and cons of their ideas and learn to make decisions based on facts rather than pursuing their emotions which is one of the key qualities of logical thinkers.
Many times, we find it very fruitful to design and use questionnaires in this step. The questionnaire will have questions that will help direct the young minds in the right direction for solving the problem. Asking the right questions will lead the team towards making better and more aware decisions.
We tend to use this for groups with little to no prior experience with programming and those who lack the necessary organizational skills for moving the project forward.
Flowcharts are literally meant for planning projects like these. By designing a flowchart for the program, GeniusCamperes will learn to use their logical thinking skills in order to create a well-organized and executable structural framework for their project. Using a flowchart has the advantage of keeping everything neat and not confusing.
#3 Developing Code For The Sketched Solution
Now that the general plan of the work is decided and outlined, the students are ready to move up to the next step, which is actually coding! This is where all the programming knowledge they have acquired previously will come into play. In this section, they will have to use their logical thinking abilities to execute their plan and turn it into code while fulfilling all the requirements.
Like the previous steps, we use an array of techniques for making this step more fruitful and enjoyable too.
We tend to break down the entire work and allocate different tasks to each of the students. There may also be other variables such as completion date depending on the ground and the task at hand. This is something like a group to-do list where everybody can tick off the tasks they have already completed. This method is highly effective in promoting teamwork and boosting logical thinking capabilities.
In this section, the students will get a checklist containing all the program requirements. The first thing a program checklist would do is to constantly remind the students about the major requirements of the program. When writing simple programs things are quite straight forward but when it comes to more complex projects, it is easy for the team to lose track of all the requirements.
But how does having such a checklist helps improve logical thinking? It is a fact that logical thinking requires a lot of organizational skills and that is what we try to promote in this section.
#4 Testing And Optimizing The Solution
Once the program that was outlined in step 2 is completed, it is time for testing it out to see whether it actually works. This is also the part where shortcomings start to surface from within the project. Once the program is fully functional and checks all the boxes, it is now time to see where it can be optimized.
Optimizing the project will open so many new doors for the logical thinking abilities to kick in and evolve. This is mainly because this time, the students will have to take a close look at the material and resources they have developed themselves and use their logical thinking capabilities to discover the areas where they could have performed better. Once these areas are identified, logical thinking comes into play once again to help the students bring in solutions that would optimize such areas of the project.
In GeniusCamp we do this through a few methods two of which are presented below.
Peer review is an excellent way for promoting teamwork and open-mindedness. In this method, GeniusCampers will share their project with their friends, allow them to use it, and as for their thoughts and feedback. This not only ignites a feeling of achievement for the students but also boosts their control over their emotional responses by preparing them for any negative comments. Looking at things logically rather than holding a defensive emotional guard against their work, is one of the key aspects of logical thinking!
This method is similar to peer review as it relies on the feedback of the other students. What makes it different though is the fact that this time, GeniusCampers will have to gather the information without talking to their peers but rather figure out their feedback by just looking at how their expressions change while using their program. This technique develops a mindset that is based on research rather than just receiving feedback. This would further sharpen the observational aspect of their logical thinking capability. Of course, the deductions of the students are double-checked later with their peers to make sure they have not made any wrong conclusions.
Once the groups arrive at the most optimum program, the final step is revising the process and looking back at the decisions that have been made in different situations. The students must present logical evidence to prove their solution is an acceptable one by pointing out its strengths and covering its weaknesses. This helps with learning how they should be connecting the steps they have taken in their project through using their logical thinking skills and explaining their decisions and actions.
This is done using a variety of methods but the most common one is code presentation.
This is basically a demonstration of the final project along with the path that was taken to arrive at the solution. This can be done in presence of the parents, in small groups, or among the students themselves. Even though it is the very final step, it still nurtures logical thinking in a couple of days.
Firstly the process of developing such a presentation requires a mindful and accurate study and observation of the process which focuses on observational and analytic aspects of logical thinking. GeniusCampers must make sure they highlight key points and not miss the important stuff.
Secondly, the same logic used for coding out the program may not work for resenting its steps. GeniusCampers must keep in mind their audience and their levels of knowledge about programming. They should then prepare their presentation accordingly through a logical process that is both comprehensible and enjoyable for the audience. This takes quite a lot of logical thinking action!
Logical thinking has become an integral part of our lives and careers at this point in time. It is no longer an ace but rather a necessity. Attending to the proverb “practice makes perfect” we understand that the more time that is dedicated to learning and practicing a skill will yield more fruitful results. Starting the development process for logical thinking at a young age will definitely make our children better logical thinkers with brighter futures.
Head over to the top of this page and learn more about our programming courses for children to learn more about the courses we offer and how we can guarantee a better future for our children.