/r/explainmelikeimfive — talking about programming to kids

4-6 year olds wanted to know if I was a hacker and if I used the cloud to store my photos. Also, they didn’t like computer viruses because they are bad like coronavirus, and concluded that facemasks where the equivalent to an anti-virus.

alt: a GIF of a woman mimicking typing and saying “we are in” to represent me as a hacker

7–9-year-olds already knew programming was about doing stuff with computers and videogames so they wanted to know how they can build GTA6. They also learnt the words algorithm and prototyping.

For them we did a Design Thinking activity, based on the Design Thinking Challenge for Kids, consisting of them trying to put themselves in the shoes of someone else, brainstorm with ideas, offer a creative solution, prototype it and test it. They really enjoyed the activity, and we did the same for 10–12-year-olds. Most of them chose to offer a creative solution to a friend and their ideas were awesome. I asked them in the end what they liked about this exercise and their answers were in the lines of “solving problems in a creative way”, “using our brains to understand what someone else’s needs are” and so on…and then before I left them I asked them if they had any other questions for me

10–12-year-olds wanted to know what motivated me to become a software engineer, what the deep web was, what was the meaning of the “https://” part in the websites and if the salary was good. They were also disappointed they were not going to learn how to make a website in this 20 minute talk with me.

alt: 2 photos next to each other of students using the material provided for the Design Thinking activity. Left — a girl making a dog. Right — a kid on their desk using the material to make a very tall person
alt: a GIF of Phoebe from the TV show Friends acting surprised and mind blown.
alt: a photo taken from the back of the classroom of myself explaining the Design Thinking activity to a group of ~15 kids



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