Some definitions, with images, related to coding in the 1-8 grades
By: Steven Floyd and Lisa Anne Floyd
The Ontario Mathematics Curriculum for grades 1-8 includes expectations related to coding. With the release of the curriculum, the Ministry of Education also provided a valuable glossary of terms, which can be found here. The following lists the terms and definitions from the Ministry of Education’s glossary that relate to coding, as well as images to help represent the terms and definitions.
This article addresses the following terms:
algorithm – block-based programming – code – coding – computational modelling – computational representation – computational thinking – conditional statement – control structure – debugging – defined count – efficient code – execute – function – input – iterate – loop – nested events – optimization – outcome – pseudocode – repeating event – sequential events – subprogram – text-based programming – unplugged code
algorithm: A specific sequence of well-defined steps to solve a problem or perform a calculation.
block-based programming: A way of programming a computer or other device in which executable actions are organized into blocks that can be clicked, dragged, altered, and connected to other blocks. This is sometimes referred to as visual programming.
code: An instruction or set of instructions that can be executed by a computer or other device.
coding: The process of writing computer programming instructions.
computational modelling: Using a computer program to create a model of a complex system in order to study its behaviour. This can involve a combination of mathematics, statistics, physics, and computer science.
computational representations: Representations or models of mathematical situations that use computing concepts and tools to find solutions to problems, automate tasks, visualize data, or simulate events.
computational thinking: The thought process involved in expressing problems in such a way that their solutions can be reached using computational steps and algorithms.
conditional statement: A type of coding instruction used to compare values and express and make decisions. A conditional statement tells a program to execute an action depending on whether a condition is true or false. It is often represented as an if-then or if-then-else statement.
control structure: A line or block of code that influences the order in which other code is executed. Control structures affect the flow of the program and include sequencing lines of code, repeating lines of code (loops), or selection to execute or not execute specific lines of code (conditional statements). Sequence, repetition, and selection are all control structures.
debugging: The process of finding and fixing errors (known as “bugs”) in a computer program.
defined count: In coding, the number of times instructions are repeated based on a predefined value or until a condition has been met.
efficient code: Code that uses the lowest number of instructions to accomplish a task, thereby minimizing storage space and execution time.
execute: To run code or a computer program.
function: A small section of code that performs a single task and returns a value back to the main program.
input: Information or instructions that are entered into a computer or device; the act of doing so.
iterate: To repeat a mathematical or computational operation or movement again and again until a desired result or condition is attained.
loop: A computer programming control structure that allows for a sequence of instructions to be repeated while, or until, a condition is met.
nested events: Control structures that are placed inside other control structures; for example, loops occurring inside other loops, or a conditional statement being evaluated inside a loop.
optimization: The action of finding the most favourable or efficient outcome for a situation. For example, the greatest playing surface (area) for the least fencing (perimeter) when fencing a playground.
outcome: The result of code processed by a computer or device, which may include data on the screen or movement of a robot.
pseudocode: An informal way of describing a computer program or algorithm that is an intermediary between everyday language and programming code. Pseudocode is often used before actual coding to explain the design process in a less technical way (e.g., fwd 10 steps, rt 45 degrees, bkwds 4 steps).
repeating event: Something that happens over and over again. In coding, loops are used to repeat instructions.
sequential events: A set of instructions carried out one after another, usually top to bottom or left to right on a screen.
subprogram: A small set of instructions for completing one small task. Subprograms can be combined in a main program to accomplish a large task using small steps.
text-based programming: A way of programming a computer or electronic device that involves typing out programming code instructions in the specific syntax of the programming language being used.
unplugged code: A set of instructions that can be performed without the use of a computer or device. Usually used to support the learning of writing and executing code.
You can see the full Grades 1-8 Mathematics Glossary here: