The Grownup Guide to Bitsbox

First Things First Info for Educators

So coding is just writing instructions, right?

When you're coding, the thing you're creating is a program. A program is a set of instructions that tells a computer or other device what to do. So yes, coding is just writing instructions. But there's a catch.

Sometimes a program is very simple, taking the form of commands that are supposed to be followed in order, from top to bottom, a lot like these driving directions:

  1. Go straight until Broadway.
  2. Turn right on Broadway.
  3. Go straight until you reach the school.

While that's an easy concept to understand, the grim reality is that most instructions aren't linear in that way—most instructions need to be able to react to outside conditions to produce a result that depends on those conditions. More like this:

  1. Go straight until Broadway.
  2. If you can, turn right on Broadway and go to Step 5. If you can't, go to Step 3.
  3. Turn left on Broadway.
  4. Go straight until you can do a U-turn.
  5. Go straight until you reach the school.

Ugh. You can see how things can get complicated quickly when you're trying to write thorough instructions—especially for something as dumb as a computer.