Computational Thinking through Geometric Understanding: A Case Study on Programming in Mathematics Education



According to the 2020-updated curriculum for the Norwegian lower middle school, algorithmic thinking and computer programming are necessary student skills that are to be implemented in the mathematics education. Despite the curriculum update, many mathematics teachers lack competence and experi-ence in computer programming, and do indeed struggle to integrate algorithmic thinking in their teaching. Therefore, there is a need for specific teacher re-sources, such as simple but efficient readily developed education programs that can easily be adapted, extended, and applied, either as whole or as inspiration for teachers in their own classrooms. The contribution of this article is twofold: Firstly, we present an education program that aims to introduce basic program-ming concepts, such as loops and logical conditions, to lower middle school stu-dents through their existing understanding of geometry. Secondly, we report on a pilot study where the education program was taught by three teachers in their respective classes over a period of three weeks in a Norwegian lower middle school. The students’ development in algorithmic thinking strategies and problem solving skills over the course of the education program was assessed with a generalized pre- and post-test. The results indicate that students with low to me-dium test score in the pre-test achieved the greatest improvement (approximately 100-300% increase in test score), whereas students with medium to high test score in the pre-test performed slightly worse after the education program.