Talking through one of the Wolfram programming challenges with my kids

One of our projects this summer is working through some of the Wolfram programming challenges. I’m not a particularly good programmer, but am excited to try to help out the kids as best I can.

One of the challenges we worked on this week was really interesting:

https://challenges.wolfram.com/challenge/getting-a-basketball-score

A quick summary of the challenge is here:


This challenge was difficult for the kids and took about 3 days working for roughly 30 min each day to complete. I think that part of the difficulty came from having to think about a list of lists, which is a new idea for them (programming or otherwise).

For today’s project I wanted them to talk through their approach to the problem and eventually discuss the solution. We started with looking at the problem statement and talking a bit about what made this challenge a little difficult:

Next we talked about some of our initial ideas about the program and how we thought about the problem with an even number:

Now we discussed what was different (maybe surprisingly different) about the case with odd numbers:

Two wrap up we looked at the program the boys wrote and they talked through the code:

I’m really excited about working through more of these challenges. Some seem absurdly hard and I’m sure won’t be able to solve all of them, but I think we’ve got a fun summer ahead of us!