Learning to Code – An Invitation to Computer Science Through the Art and Patterns of Nature (Lynx Edition)

by David Thornburg

This book is a guide to teaching children to program computers in uniquely powerful ways. The programming language used in this book is Lynx, a cloud-based implementation of Logo that can be used on any device with a web browser. 

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by David Thornburg

Choose from Lynx or Snap! Edition: These are books about discovery—the discoveries each of us can make when finding beauty in geometric patterns, beauty in mathematics, and beauty in computer programming. This is also a guide for teaching children to program computers in uniquely powerful ways. (See Snap! Edition)

Lynx Edition – The programming language used in this book is Lynx, a cloud-based implementation of Logo that can be used on any device with a web browser. A free trial version is available, while licenses for student and classroom use are quite affordable.

Lynx was created by LCSI, developer of Logo learning environments for four decades. It is quite similar to MicroWorlds EX and a great next language for kids who have used Scratch. The Logo programming language was designed for learning and its various dialects have been used by millions of learners for more than half a century. With Logo, students experience powerful ideas, solve problems, and create while engaging in conversation with the computer. Although coding is often thought of in vocational terms, Logo programming lies squarely in the grand traditions of the liberal arts and progressive education.

Lynx is easily one of the most powerful and user-friendly computer languages ever implemented on a personal computer. It has an extraordinarily powerful graphics environment (whose characteristics will be amply illustrated in this book); it can be used with very little formal instruction; and it can be extended by the user as desired.

The power of Lynx must be experienced to be believed. Many people who are familiar with other languages embrace Lynx as being among the best computer languages they have seen. As you work with Lynx yourself, you may see why the enthusiasm for this language is so great.

It is easy to see how one might find beauty in geometric patterns; this beauty forms the foundation of nature and art. We are continually entranced by geometric form—the symmetry of a butterfly’s wings, the spiral of a snail’s shell, the facets of a crystal—and each of these natural occurrences is perceived as having beauty associated with it. The hands of people have produced geometric art since marks were first made on cave walls or stones were first fashioned into tools. From the Pyramids and the Parthenon to the finest gold-link chain, the beauty of geometric form is clearly present for all who care to find it.

Underlying the geometric pattern that we experience with our eyes lies a more subtle pattern of mathematical beauty, which is experienced intellectually—a collection of unifying principles that govern the arrangement and shapes of objects, both natural and crafted. Computer programming offers a bridge between the worlds of nature, design, and intellect.

The computer today can be a tool for discovery and creative expression. It can be as malleable as a piece of clay and as powerful as the very ideas it helps to express. You do not have to be good at math or accept the passive ways computers are often used in classrooms. Thornburg’s approach is eye-opening.

Available at Amazon.com (Snap! or Lynx) and Barnes & Noble online.

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Through presentations, workshops and books, Dr. David Thornburg uses his expertise in emerging trends to help educators build the skills needed to use technology as a tool to teach for understanding, backed by solid research and a coherent vision of an educational future in which every learner thrives. A staunch advocate of STEM education, he sees 3D printing as a powerful tool in the hands of all students.

Book details

  • MSRP $21.95 USD paperback, $32.95 hardcover
  • 144 pages, black and white
  • Publisher: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-1-955604-02-4 (paperback)
  • ISBN: 978-1-955604-03-1 (hardcover)
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

Volume purchases

For volume sales, PO purchases, or special requests, contact CMK Press. We are happy to help! This book is available from Education Technology Specialists in Australia and Ingram wholesale worldwide.  

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