Computational Thinking and History in High School

Computational thinking and History are two subjects most people believe do not relate to each other; however, they have more in common than meets the eye. Throughout high school, History was one of my favorite subjects. I loved analyzing documents, writing papers and learning how our past can influence our future. This passion for thinking analytically lead me to pursue computer Science classes in high school and now a degree in Computer Science. CodeNC has provided me the chance to develop activities applying computational thinking to the study of history. Some may be weary about adding computers into a History class but computational thinking is more than just computers or programming. In my research I have condensed computational thinking down to four ideas: Decomposition, Pattern Recognition, Abstraction, and Algorithm Design. These four ideas can play a part in any subject or activity. One may ask, "So how do any of these ideas relate to history?"; let me give you several examples. Decomposition can be defined as breaking a problem into smaller pieces and in a History class students could study a war and break down the war into smaller chunks such as different stages of the war or reasons or events that lead up to the war. Pattern recognition is defined as finding similarities between things. For example, a history student could find patterns in movements occurring during different time periods. Abstraction is pulling out differences to make one solution to solve a variety of problems. History students can look at our government and how parties have to compromise with one another to solve problems. Lastly, algorithm design is creating a list of steps to finish a task. History students can use this in so many ways such as creating a list of steps on how to become President or on how a bill becomes a law. Throughout my research, I have discovered how computational thinking applies to so many different topics, more than I previously thought. The problem solving skills students acquire from computational thinking are beneficial in all aspects of their lives as well as making them well rounded students.

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