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Clean your room computationally

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The STEM way of tidying up

Make a computational game out of the drudgery

What You'll Need

  • You and your kid
  • Basket

How to Play

Ack -- this room is a mess! But, that is ok: take a deep breath and let's get your child thinking computationally while they clean their room.

First thing: let them decide how to form a game plan. What are the steps they need to follow to get their room in good shape?

Step 1: Getting strategic
Instead of the usual script -- clean this room! No! Yes! No!, we will start by thinking systematically about the situation. What is the problem here? What can your child do to solve it? Talk through with your child what would be the quickest way to get the room clean -- and what 'kind' of cleaned up room would be the best for them? How can they put things away that will make them happiest in the future?
Step 2: Let the cleaning game start!

Set a timer [20-25 minutes] and see if your child can get your room on time! The cleaning time is set!

Tell your child that it's time to put their strategic plan in action. Will it really be quicker? We'll notice what works or what doesn't.

While time is going, you might also want to keep score of how clean the room is getting -- if the 'problem is being solved'. Is your child following their own plan?

Step 3: Optimization

Encourage your child to reflect as they clean. When the timer stops, have them go through the room and find any problems. Is anything not as good as it could be? What could they do to get the room as clean, tidy, and fresh as possible? How can they do this quicker? Think about it as collaborative problem-solving: how can you devise strategies together to get the room cleanliness problem resolved? Then test them out, see if they work, or what other methods might work better.
Step 4: Can you progress next time?

When your child finishes the cleaning, ask them what it felt like. Was it easy? Was it hard?

Also, challenge them to think through what they could do to improve next time they need to clean their room? Is there another step-by-step instruction model they could create, so they can always clean well?

Next week, let them try cleaning their room again to see if they can beat their previous cleaning time from last week