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Getting Started with Coding

Until the last few decades, education focused on skills called the three Rs — reading, writing, and arithmetic. (I know what you’re thinking … adults who believe all these words begin with the letter R need to return to kindergarten!) If you mastered the three Rs, you were considered an educated person. But now, technology has changed everything. In your personal life, in school, and in your parents’ jobs, technology is in constant use. And communicating with technology requires a new skill called coding, or computer programming.

In this chapter, I explain what coding is and describe the types of projects you can create. Then, I introduce you to MicroWorlds EX, which is the software that you will use to create the projects in this book, as well as connect you with additional resources for extending your learning.

Understanding What Coding Is

Coding means writing instructions that a piece of technology — usually a computer — understands so that the technology will perform a task. A computer programming language provides the vocabulary (words) and syntax (rules and punctuation) for communicating with a computer.

The instructions that you write and that the computer reads are a program. A computer program comprises code and communicates instructions about what is supposed to show on a computer screen and when it is supposed to happen. As you learn a computer programming language, you will be able to read and understand programs already written. ...

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