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Bridging Primary Programming and Mathematics: Some Findings of Design Research in England

Laura Benton, Celia Hoyles, Ivan Kalas, Richard Noss


In this paper we present the background, aims and methodology of the ScratchMaths (SM) project, which has designed curriculum materials and professional development (PD) to support mathematical learning through programming for pupils aged between 9 and 11 years. The project was framed by the particular context of computing in the English education system alongside the long history of research and development in programming and mathematics. In this paper, we present a “framework for action” (diSessa and Cobb, Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13, 77–103, 2004) following design research that looked to develop an evidence-based curriculum intervention around carefully chosen mathematical and computational concepts. As a first step in teasing out factors for successful implementation and addressing any gap between our design intentions and teacher delivery, we focus on two key foundational concepts within the SM curriculum: the concept of algorithm and of 360° total turn. We found that our intervention as a whole enabled teachers with different backgrounds and levels of confidence to tailor the delivery of the SM in ways that can make these challenging concepts more accessible for both themselves and their pupils.
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