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Easy Activity to Do at Home: The Taste Test of Code

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The #1 most common cooking mistake is not tasting as you go.

The same is true of coding. A common scenario is a newbie coder gets an idea for a huge project and codes, codes, codes… then, finally, when it seems like their coding all the pieces, they press Run and hope for the best. Nine times out of ten, this ends in an error message, a sad coder, and a long search for the bug (probably, many bugs).

Experienced coders are testing parts of their code all the time. This makes bugs (mistakes in code) easier to identify within a smaller subset of code—avoiding the 'needle in a haystack' problem. It also helps to spot bugs earlier, soon after the the bug is created, and to prevent larger bugs from being created.

When students get used to this process, they become more independent, since it enables them to identify bugs on their own instead of waiting for someone to help them.

How can you get students in the habit of taste testing their code?

Apply this thinking to all types of activities that you do with your child! For example:

  • Cooking! How is it tasting and how do you adjust accordingly as you go? Increasingly complex recipes is a great way to level up.

  • Writing an essay. Why is it easier to proofread after each paragraph/section instead of waiting until the very end?

  • Building something, especially if there’s a defined end goal. For example, putting together IKEA furniture with your child: “Let’s check we put together each part correctly before we put it all together."

After getting enough practice with this thinking, your child will internalize it into a habit.