December 10, 2015: Teaching For Loops

A few days ago, Karin Lagesen asked people what metaphors they use when teaching for loops. It kicked off an entertaining thread. When we talk about pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in instructor training, this is exactly the kind of thing we mean:

There was also a suggestion that we should teach loops after functions so that learners have something to do inside their loops. We actually used to do this, but learners didn't seem to find small functions without any control flow inside them compelling. Teaching loops first gives us something to put into our functions, but we haven't done any rigorous comparisons to see if it actually works better.

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This post originally appeared in the Software Carpentry blog.