Coding: Been There, Done That

I took AP Calc my junior year of high school, and by that point, I didn’t have to take any more math classes. I could have taken the easy way out senior year and not have anything to do with numbers or equal signs or gross stuff like that, but the problem was that I’m actually interested in math and science and I didn’t want to be a total lazy couch potato just because I could. So, I elected to take this class that met twice a week at 7:30 in the morning (incredible that I chose this for myself, right? Seriously. I must have been immune to Senioritis or something) to talk about various things. The class was called “Advanced Topics in Mathematics” and the teacher (a really awesome smart guy who was humorous and had the best freaking collection of ties ever) made it his point to expose us to the ways math could be used beyond a high school classroom. Everyone always says, “when am I ever going to need algebra or trigonometry or calculus again?!?”. His class was the answer. We explored all different types of things, from group theory (which applies to Rubik’s cubes), special relativity (which has to do with not just time and space, but space-time), and, most importantly, coding. Each new topic required a new page on our website that proved we understood the topic. But a new page didn’t mean a new post on something like WordPress or blogger.com. A new page meant a literal new page on a website we had created from scratch, using code. Our first project was to learn code, and from then on, we were expected to use it to explain complex ideas. It was really hard, but also really fun.

My experience with code taught me a lot about how we think, and I’m definitely interested in learning how to do it better, because the stuff I did in high school was hardly advanced at all. But I recognized that it was extremely valuable, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to learn it in a classroom setting. I also understand that my experience is pretty rare, even in my high school. The only reason I was able to take that class was because I had skipped two grades of math, and if the class hadn’t fit into my schedule, I would have been at a loss. I fully support, however, the idea of more schools making coding classes available to more students. It’s a really important tool.

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About mjpwoodruff

My biggest dilemma throughout life has probably been figuring out what I’m most interested in out of all the things I’ve ever come across and thought was worth a second glance. I have lists on my phone for all the books I haven’t bought and want to read, all the music I’ve tagged and want to listen to, all the fleeting thoughts I’ve had that could lead to an interesting topic for further daydreaming, etc. I probably visit thesaurus.com as often as I visit social media sites. A short list of things I’ve considered majoring in: film, poetry, neuroscience, composing, screenwriting, anthropology, biology, history, journalism, sociology, forensic science, political science. The only thing I’ve found in common with all of these things so far is that they all relate to humans, how they work, and how they interact. I love bees, morning drives into New York City, and ultimate frisbee. I also sell Girl Scout cookies, if you’re into that. - Maggie Woodruff

One thought on “Coding: Been There, Done That

  1. juliamoore3

    I am very surprised that your high school offered a class that taught coding. I went to a really big high school and we did not have such a class available. The video made coding sound like a very valuable skill to have. If you have time in your schedule you take a course that teaches more complex coding, especially if you find it fun. With technology becoming more and more prevalent in the workplace, those who know how to code will have a huge advantage over those who don’t.

    Reply

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