Everything we do today uses algorithms. “An algorithm is a set of rules or instructions used to solve complex problems.”1 As you employ algorithms to carry out tasks accurately and effectively, they play a crucial role in computational thinking and problem-solving in many facets of life. Children are greatly benefited by computational thinking and algorithms because they provide a systematic approach to solving problems and developing step-by-step procedures for completing simple-to-complex tasks in and out of the classroom.1
Children can build a strong foundation for logical thinking and problem-solving by learning algorithms.2 When children engage in algorithmic thinking, they develop a creative and independent capacity to solve problems across disciplines and across subject areas. Click here to learn more about how algorithms are used in various fields and in real-world applications.
So, how can you apply algorithms to solve problems in the real world?
Every problem-solving approach begins with planning, which is done through the use of an algorithm. So, we need to first write or develop an algorithm. There are numerous approaches to developing an algorithm—colloquial, formal, mathematical, or graphic. You can use any method that meets your needs. After developing an algorithm, it can then be translated into a computer program using a programming language.3
You can utilize this knowledge to solve problems effectively for any task at hand such as “How can I quickly finish my homework?” Why is it that nobody enjoys my Instagram reels? “How can I make my friend’s birthday special?” and so on. You can solve this by deconstructing the issue into smaller components and examining each separately.
Let’s use the example of making soup.4
Step 1: Brown the vegetables, herbs, and spices in a skillet.
Step 2: Cook your protein in the same pot as the vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Step 3: Select a base broth and combine it with other bases such as tomato sauce or puree.
Step 4: Fill your soup pot with chunky carrots, beans, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and whatever else you like.
Step 5: Take into account how long these components will take to cook, then add and cook appropriately.
Step 6: Adjust the amount of salt and herbs as necessary.
Step 7: Garnish and serve
The same is true for almost everything we do. We employ algorithms constantly, even if we’re not aware of it. If you’ve ever watched a culinary program, you know that the chef takes you through each step of making a delectable dish. Criminal investigators have a process for figuring out what happened in an incident and who might be at blame. Beyond laying a solid foundation for programming skills, learning how to design algorithms helps expand one’s capacity for logical thought. Algorithms play a significant role in every aspect of our life, and it is important that children are introduced to these concepts and thoroughly understand how they work.2
If you enjoyed reading this article, you could find more thought-provoking posts on math and coding at BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog.
- Algorithm Examples: Definition & 6 Real World Examples | Sphero. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://sphero.com/blogs/news/real-world-algorithm-examples
- Problem-Solving With Algorithms. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.mycodingplace.com/post/problem-solving-with-algorithms
- 4. Problem Solving and Algorithms. (n.d.). Retrieved August 2, 2022, from http://sofia.cs.vt.edu/cs1114-ebooklet/chapter4.html
- How to Use Algorithms to Solve Problems? – GeeksforGeeks. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/how-to-use-algorithms-to-solve-problems/