Abstraction and Common Classroom Activities
In popularizing computational thinking, Wing notes that ‘abstraction is described as underlying computational thinking and computational thinking is described as fundamental to computing.’ Emerging curricular now require educators to incorporate computational thinking and abstraction into their teaching. Many refer to Piaget’s work as evidence of an age-related ceiling preventing younger pupils from being able to abstract. However, more recent evidence suggests that pupils use elements of abstraction in their general process of learning, and that the skill of abstraction can be explicitly taught. We draw on personal classroom experience to illustrate the points made in the literature. Common classroom activities such as using labelled diagrams, concept maps and storyboards are aligned to features of abstraction. We argue that abstraction can and should be taught to young pupils.