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HS Students Teach Grade 4 About Boolean Variables

Tanya Olander

“When you wake up in the morning, you make a bunch of different choices that you don’t even realize that you’re making. The answer to a simple question like ‘Should I get out of bed?” is a boolean!

Using simple examples from the many thousands of decisions we make in everyday life, high school Computer Science students are bringing the “true/false” concept of boolean variables to life for our Grade 4 students

A Grade 4 student listens intently while taking in the high schoolers' lesson on boolean variables. 

Bringing Boolean Variable to Life

“Booleans can be used when you need to make a decision or for things that need to meet a certain condition,” one of the Computer Science students explains as a group of grade 4 students looks on. “For example, should you wear a coat outside? If it is cold, you should - this is “true” but if it is warm then you shouldn’t, i.e., it is “false.”

Taking a break from writing notes a student holds up a "false" statement while learning about booleans.

Explain it Simply

Another group of Computer Students has created a hands-on experience with flashcards to illustrate the concept. As the Grade 4 students contemplate the many questions they face daily that can be answered with “true” or “false,” they learn that those are booleans.

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein

And as the understanding builds, several students realize excitedly that they now grasp a programming concept!

High school students can understand how well they know booleans by how successfully they managed to teach the fourth graders!

As the end of the lesson on booleans draws to a close, our Grade 4 students head back to the elementary school building from their mini “field trip,” now knowing more about programming than they did just an hour before. And the Computer Science students can determine if, in fact, they understand their material well enough to “explain it simply.
 

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