ThoughtSTEM Blog

ThoughtSTEM Highlight: Deanna Bell

Mon, 16 Jul 2018 18:22:19 +0000

Have you ever called our ThoughtSTEM office? Chances are you spoke to Deanna. Deanna Bell is our Parent Relations Manager, but as I found out in this interview, she is so much more than this. One of the things that stood out to me about Deanna, was her ability to take control of a situation, see what needs to be done, and execute a plan. That ability is much needed ...

ThoughtSTEM Highlight: Jason Le

Thu, 21 Jun 2018 16:47:51 +0000

Coding is about community. It benefits from community. Go out and get involved.

Jason has worked with tech his entire life, it is something he enjoys and he likes to teach others to share his interests. Seemingly unrelated parts of life can be enhanced and given meaning by STEM. It changes the fundamental way people look at problems they face and can grant a ...

Coding for Kids: How Critical Thinking and Technical Skills Can and Must Prepare the Next Generation for the Future

Thu, 07 Jun 2018 18:58:43 +0000

Talented Instructors and Providing Children with Meaningful Education through teaching coding for kids:

Educating children on matters of technology is often encouraged in order to ensure a generation of computer literate individuals who are capable of contributing to their fullest potential in our interconnected world. For this reason many have agreed that education in our modern world should feature lessons in coding for kids.


How one goes about providing this future generation with such a skill set is often a question of parents, educators, and business owners. To this end there have been a collection of efforts to provide children ...

Parents’ role in coding education

Wed, 04 Apr 2018 06:00:25 +0000

I had my first coding lesson in Kindergarten in the early 90s.  My first coding teacher didn’t have a degree in computer science.  In fact, she didn’t know much more than I did.  She was my mom, and she taught herself while she taught me.

We had a book.  I think it was this one:

We wrote our first programs on our first home computer.  One of these:

This Ada Lovelace video is the BEST

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 06:00:16 +0000

Ada Lovelace was the first computer programmer.  Even more impressive, she wrote the first computer program before the computer was even invented.

She was friends with Charles Babbage, who had proposed what he called the “Analytical Engine”.  But Babbage was never able to actually build the machine.

Still, this didn’t stop Ada Lovelace from writing programs for the Analytical Engine.  She used her mathematical and reasoning skills to see that the programs she wrote would have run, if the machine had been built.

This is a quality that ...

5-minute coding lesson #2: Non-infinite Loops

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 06:00:48 +0000

Most loops we write in code aren’t infinite (as we saw in the last 5-minute lesson).  Usually, we want computers to do some work for a while and then stop — instead of running forever.  To do this, we need an “if” (see the very first line below):

  1. If we have eaten two sandwiches, go to step 7.  Otherwise, go to step 2.
  2. Take out two slices of bread
  3. Spread peanut butter and jelly onto one of the slices
  4. Put the other slice on top
  5. Eat the sandwich

  6. 5-minute coding lesson #1: Infinite Loops

    Wed, 29 Mar 2017 06:00:24 +0000

    In code, a loop is really just a “go to” instruction.  Imagine you’re following these instructions:

    1. Take out two slices of bread
    2. Spread peanut butter and jelly onto one of the slices
    3. Put the other slice on top
    4. Eat the sandwich
    5. Go to step 1

    The last line, sends you back to the first step, at which point you’ll be making another sandwich.  You’ll notice that this process will have you making sandwiches for the rest of your life.  In coding, we call such loops “infinite loops”.


    Why kids should code (With Pictures)

    Tue, 28 Mar 2017 06:00:48 +0000

    I love this infographic from  Just a few of the reasons kids need to learn to code.

    1. Learning programming empowers kids
    2. Learning to code is like learning a language (like Chinese or Spanish)
    3. Learning diverse subjects helps children succeed
    4. Coding makes you fluent in technology — the language of the 21st century.
    5. The world needs more programmers!


    Excuses parents make to avoid learning to code

    Thu, 23 Mar 2017 06:00:25 +0000

    If you want your child to learn to code, the single best thing you can do is learn how to do it yourself.  Find a genuine interest in coding.  Share that interest with your child.  Don’t just encourage it from afar.

    Most parents I tell this to intuitively already know this.  But I always hear a lot of excuses.

    • It’s too hard.  I can’t do it.  This ...

    Teaching kids “grit” with coding

    Wed, 22 Mar 2017 06:00:44 +0000

    As a parent or a teacher, coding is of the best ways to teach grit.  Here’s how.

    • Regularly talk about accepting (even enjoying) setbacks.  Code almost never runs perfectly the first time.  Professional software developers know this.  But kids who are just starting out usually don’t.  They may expect code to run perfectly the first time.  After all, the other software they use on the computer tends to be bug free, so why should their code be any different? ...

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