When teaching programming to beginners it is important your students understand how to make a flowchart. A flowchart is a diagram that uses shapes, lines, and arrows to sequence steps. It is a visual way of representing the input, output, decisions, and calculations that take place within a program. There are many benefits to including flowcharts as part of your curriculum. Discover their educational value and helpful strategies that can enhance learning.
Form a Real-World Connection with Flowcharts
A computer science unit should include how to make a flowchart. This is because this task forms a meaningful connection to the real-world. In the workplace, flowcharts are often used by programmers to organize and share their ideas. In fact, they are so useful that most professions use them to communicate how a process works including engineers, scientists, manufacturers, business managers, and health care workers.
For example, when beginning program development, many programmers find that outlining the flow of information and processes visually helps to devise a coded solution. The flowchart provides a rough outline. It becomes a practical tool for identifying variables, pinpointing errors, connecting code, and finetuning ideas. Similar to programmers, students receive the same benefit when they create their own flowcharts.
Another practical purpose of flowcharts in the workplace, is that they can be used as a visual aid for non-programmers, such as clients or investors. Having a documented framework of the program transforms an abstract idea into something tangible that everyone can understand. The flowchart becomes a reference point when explaining how the design works. It also is a concrete way to notice elements that are missing or areas that require further clarification. For students, the outcome is similar. Producing a flowchart is a visual way of demonstrating to the teacher an understanding of programming concepts. It also frames a discussion about design elements and code.
If you want to include flowcharts in your computer science unit and you also value real-world applications of learning, then take a look at TechnoPython. This STEM technology project gradually introduces flowcharts to students in a way that makes them easy to understand. The activities also emphasize the role of programmers in the workplace.
Flowcharts Develop Computational Thinking Skills
Yet another reason teachers should include how to make a flowchart within their curriculum is to develop computational thinking. Computational thinking is a problem-solving process that has four parts: decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithms. When designing a flowchart, each of these parts are blended to produce a valuable learning opportunity:
- Decomposition: Decomposition is breaking down a task into smaller parts. When creating a flowchart to illustrate the steps in a program, students must separate every action and trigger into shapes. They divide the input, output, and logical decisions into individual elements. These are then connected using lines with arrows to show the flow of information.
- Pattern Recognition: Pattern recognition is looking for similarities. When mapping the parts of a program, students must notice the instructions that repeat. Within the flowchart, they will then create a series of steps, with a line that joins the last step to the first step. This illustrates a loop within the code.
- Abstraction: Abstraction is focusing on important information, while ignoring irrelevant details. Designing a flowchart encourages students to be concise. In this form of graphic organizer there is a limited amount of space within a shape to describe each step. Moreover, often there is a restriction based upon screen or document size. These limitations require that students focus on relevant details only.
- Algorithms: Algorithms are step-by-step instructions that outline the solution to a problem. They can take many forms such as a written description, sequenced symbols, or a graphical representation. In the case of a flowchart, the algorithm is transformed into a visual organizer that maps the steps in a program.
Introduce Flowchart Shapes
When teaching how to make a flowchart it is important to explain that shapes have meaning. These symbols are standard. For example, an oval is used to illustrate the start and end of a program, whereas a diamond shows a decision such as yes or no.
Use an oval to mark the beginning and end of the program.
Use a parallelogram to show input or output. Input could be the user entering information. Output could be a message on the screen.
Use a rectangle to process an action. It could be a formula to calculate a value, or it might be a step that modifies text.
Use a diamond to make decisions. This shape will have two or more lines that come from it – one for each outcome. This step might ask a question or provide options. The result could be true or false, yes or no, or choices (red, blue, or green).
Use lines to connect the shapes. The arrows show the direction of the steps. Some lines should include labels, such as yes or no, to explain what is happening.
Tip for Teaching How to Make a Flowchart
Start Simple with a Familiar Task
When teaching how to make a flowchart it is advisable to begin with a simple program with only a few steps. It is best if the sequence is a linear flow and does not include branches or loops. As well, the task should be familiar so that students can draw upon experience.
This is an ideal start point because it introduces a new skill in a non-threatening way. Students can practice computational thinking without the strain of too many complexities. This allows them to gain confidence as they break down the program into individual parts, classify them by type (start/end, input/output, process, decision), eliminate irrelevant details, and sequence the steps.
A fun task for beginners is to create an Adding Machine that sums two numbers. A calculator is something familiar. It is on every phone and computer. Since it is recognizable, student can transfer their existing knowledge to the task. This enables them to focus their attention towards organizing the program components into a flowchart.
Expand Knowledge to Include Decision Making
Once students understand the basics of building a flowchart, they are ready for a more complicated task. It is now time to introduce a program that includes decision making. This requires branches to illustrate the outcome of different options. In addition, some of the flow lines that connect the shapes will need labels to identify their purpose. To gradually develop expertise, this task should only have two choices such as true or false or yes or no.
A task that will engage students is a guessing game. Players must correctly pick a number between 1 and 10 to win. Although this program only has a few steps, it uses all the standard shapes in a flowchart and has branches.
Apply Pattern Recognition to Loop Instructions
Now that students have a solid understanding of how to make a flowchart, they should add a loop. A loop repeats a set of instructions. In a flowchart, a line is used to connect the last step in a series to the first step.
Designing a flowchart with a loop requires students to apply pattern recognition to notice the repetition within a program. Instead of listing steps over and over again, a flowchart lists them once and then shows a decision that controls whether a sequence repeats. The loop can be a pre-determined number of repeats, such as cheering “yahoo” three times. Alternatively, it can be controlled by a value such as if a player selects to play again.
A simple cheer is a great place to start making loops in a flowchart. Now that students understand the meaning of the standard shapes and branches, they can focus upon the direction of the lines. Since only the output is repeated, there is a simplicity to the task that is ideal for beginners.
The next progression is to add a loop to repeat many steps within a program. This design is more complicated. There are many types of shapes and lines going in multiple directions. To avoid confusion, this task is best done with students that have a firm understanding of flowcharts. A good idea is to add a loop to an existing flowchart such as the above mentioned guessing game. For example, players can decide if they want to play again.
When Is It Developmentally Appropriate to Introduce How to Make a Flowchart?
Designing a flowchart from scratch is a challenging activity. It is a task that requires not only logical and analytic reasoning, but also the ability to think abstractly. Computational thinking can be introduced to young children using a wide-range of learning strategies. Nevertheless, the act of building a flowchart is best suited to children in middle school and high school, or those in Grades 6 and up. This is because developmentally, older students are at a stage where they can understand abstract ideas and explore multiple solutions to complex problems.
Learning Strategies for Teaching Flowcharts to Students
To provide a solid foundation for understanding flowcharts, you can introduce the concept gradually. Below are some ideas:
- Describe the Purpose: Study a flowchart to understand the purpose of the illustrated program. Write a short paragraph that describes what the program does.
- Make a Recipe: Transform a flowchart into a numbered list similar to a food recipe. Provide a written description about what is happening at each step.
- Fill-in-the-Blanks: Read a program description. Then study the flowchart that illustrates each step. Complete the blank shapes to finish the sequence of instructions. To simplify the task, the missing instructions can be provided with students placing them into the correct spot.
- Connect the Shapes: Draw lines with arrows to direct the sequence of instructions in a flowchart. Label the lines with identifiers such as yes or no.
- List the Variables: Study a flowchart to identify the variables that are needed to store, calculate, or manipulate data. Create a list.
- Transform a Recipe into a Flowchart: Take a numbered list of steps in a program and transform it into a flowchart. Use the correct shapes to illustrate each action or process.
- Code Connection: Map code snippets to steps in a flowchart.
TechnoPython Introduces How to Make a Flowchart to Beginners – Each Task Gains in Complexity
TechnoPython is technology project that introduces the Python programming language to beginners. The computer science lesson plans include flowchart activities. Students fill-in-the-blanks to complete the steps in a program. They also match Python code to parts of the flowchart. By the end of the unit, students should understand the purpose of a flowchart and how to interpret their meaning.
What makes flowcharts that are easier to read understand and use? ›
Use split paths instead of decision symbols — Using a split approach versus a diamond symbol to represent a decision helps you keep your flowchart moving from left to right. That also makes it easier for others to read the flow of your flowchart without requiring a lot of explanation.What are the 7 steps in developing a flowchart? ›
- Step 1: Identify the problem: What is the process that needs to be visualized? ...
- Step 2: Brainstorm all the activities that will be involved: ...
- Step 3: Figure out boundaries: ...
- Step 4: Determine and sequence the steps: ...
- Step 5: Draw basic flowchart symbols: ...
- Step 6: Finalize the process flowchart.
You will have to use Word, Excel, or some other software that allows you to create shapes and plug words into them. This makes recreating flowcharts rather difficult, considering that they require shapes.Is flowchart easy to understand? ›
Flow charts are easy-to-understand diagrams that show how the steps of a process fit together. American engineer Frank Gilbreth is widely believed to be the first person to document a process flow, having introduced the concept of a "Process Chart" to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1921.Is it easier to create a flowchart in Word or Excel? ›
Excel as a program for flowchart mapping seems to score on more counts. For example, using graphics in Word can be highly cumbersome and even an annoying experience, since if one shape is moved, the others move as well, sometimes out of viewable space.What is the best free program to create a flowchart? ›
- Google Drawings.
Essentially if you just have a general interest in learning the concept of programming with a more general application you've gotta go with python.How do you write an algorithm flowchart? ›
- Define your purpose and scope. ...
- Identify the tasks in chronological order. ...
- Organize them by type and corresponding shape, such as process, decision, data, inputs or outputs.
- Draw your chart, either sketching by hand or using a program such as Lucidchart.
Flowcharts and pseudo code are both used before writing code, but pseudocode is linear while a flow chart isn't. Also, a flowchart is graphical, while pseudocode is technical. With that in mind, a flow diagram is suitable for communicating between non-technical people and programmers.What are the rules of making flowchart? ›
Flowchart rules to start following
Run your return lines under your flowchart, ensuring they don't overlap. Maintain consistent spacing between symbols. Use the correct symbol for each step (diamond shapes are for decisions, rectangles are for processes, and start/end shapes should be the same, etc.)
Is it easier to make a flowchart in Word or PowerPoint? ›
Word is great for simple flowcharts with few shapes as long as they all fit within the page constraints of Word. PowerPoint has similar slide constraints like Word's page constraints, but for larger flowcharts, you can use PowerPoint's hyperlinking options that let you spread the same flowchart over multiple slides.Does a flowchart makes your data gathering procedure easier to understand? ›
A flowchart makes your data-gathering procedure easier to understand 15. A smaller sample can yield more accurate results but fewer responses can be expensive. 16. When writing the procedure for the treatment group, the researcher needs to how how certain variables were controlled or manipulated.What are the 3 control structures of flowchart? ›
The Three Basic Control Structures. Our programs are made up of the three basic constructures of: sequence, selection, and repetition.What are the weaknesses of flowchart? ›
What are the disadvantages of flowcharts? Answer: Difficulty in presenting complex programs and tasks, No scope for alteration or modification, Reproduction becomes a problem It's a time-consuming process, Difficult to understand for people who don't know flowchart symbols, No man to computer communication.What are the two limitations of flowchart? ›
(1) Complex Logic: Sometimes, the program logic is quite complicated. In that case, flowchart becomes complex and clumsy. In such cases, flowcharts tend to be oversimplifying a process. (2) Alterations and Modifications : If alterations are required, the flowchart may require re-drawing completely.What is flowchart very short answer? ›
A flowchart is a diagram depicting a process, a system or a computer algorithm. It is a diagrammatic representation of the solution to a given problem but, more importantly, it provides a breakdown of the essential steps to solving the problem.What Microsoft tool is best for flowcharts? ›
Flowchart Maker and Diagramming Software. Microsoft Visio.Is Excel harder than Word? ›
Learning Microsoft Word is easier than learning Microsoft Excel. However, Word isn't used for data manipulation, so it's likely that you will need to learn both.Does Microsoft Word have a flow chart template? ›
Go to Insert > Illustrations > Shapes. A drop-down menu will appear when you click on “Shapes.” Find the shapes labeled “Flowchart.” Here is where you will find all of the necessary shapes for building a flowchart, like process and decision boxes.What is the diamond symbol used for in flowchart? ›
Diamond – Used to represent a decision point in the process. Typically, the statement in the symbol will require a `yes' or `no' response and branch to different parts of the flowchart accordingly.
What does triangle mean in flowchart? ›
Among the modern flowchart symbols, an inverted triangle indicates the merging of multiple processes into a common flow.What is the difference between algorithm and flowchart? ›
Algorithms and flowcharts are different mechanisms used for designing different programs, particularly in computer programming. An algorithm is a step-by-step summary of the procedure, while on the other hand, a flowchart illustrates the steps of a program graphically.What is the easiest flowchart creator? ›
Zen Flowchart is the simplest online software to create flowcharts, flow chart, org charts, process charts, sitemaps, and more. With a minimal and intuitive user interface, creating professional flowcharts and diagrams with our online flowchart maker / flowchart generator is easy and delightful.Do professional programmers use flowcharts? ›
Developing and deploying algorithms – as “written description, sequenced symbols, or graphical representation” – remains key to the development of modern computer science. Pursuant to this, professional programmers use flowcharts to ideate the primary and secondary structures of algorithms.Is Excel Good for flowcharts? ›
You can also build your flowchart in excel using the shapes tool. To access Excel's shape library, go to the insert tab and click “Shapes.” A gallery will appear with a variety of basic shapes including lines, arrows, and geometric shapes. Scroll down to find the flowchart section.What is the simplest programming language to learn? ›
- HTML and CSS. HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language, is one of the most common programming languages for beginners, as it's often seen as the most straightforward programming language to learn. ...
- Python. ...
- C, C++, and C# ...
- A decision flowchart helps to explain steps that are taken to justify a decision. ...
- A logic flowchart is applied to uncover loopholes, bottlenecks, or constraints in the process which could cause disruptions or issues.
- A system flowchart represents how data flows in a system.
If you're new to the world of programming, Python is the best coding language to start with. It's a beginner-friendly code with a simplified syntax, using fewer lines than other coding languages, making it easy to read, understand, and use.Why you should use flowchart before you start coding? ›
Flow charts help programmers develop the most efficient coding because they can clearly see where the data is going to end up. Flow charts help programmers figure out where a potential problem area is and helps them with debugging or cleaning up code that is not working.What is the best tool for process mapping? ›
- ClickUp. Use ClickUp Whiteboards as a visual collaboration tool for creating process maps, roadmaps, workflows, and more. ...
- Lucidchart. via Lucidchart. ...
- MindMeister. via MindMeister. ...
- Pipefy. via Pipefy. ...
- EdrawMax. via EdrawMax. ...
- Microsoft Visio. via Microsoft Visio. ...
- GitMind. via GitMind. ...
- Canva. via Canva.
How do you write a process chart? ›
- Analyse the question.
- Identify the main features.
- Write an introduction.
- Write an overview.
- Write the details paragraphs.
- Step – 1 : Obtain detailed information on the problem.
- Step – 2 : Analyze the problem.
- Step – 3 : Think of a problem solving approach.
- Step – 4 : Review the problem solving approach and try to think of a better Alternative.
- Step – 5 : Develop a basic structure of the Algorithm.
In overall, a flow chart represents the sequence of steps to follow in order to solve the problem. Thus, the flowchart diagrams are easier to draw and understand.Is flowchart easier than pseudocode? ›
Flowcharts are comparatively easy to understand than pseudocode. Because pseudocode has the narrative presentation of the algorithm or program, which makes things complicated to understand. However, flowcharts can show the control flow through the code, making it easy to understand.Which of the following is a major drawback of flowchart? ›
The correct answer is Long and complex flows make it clumsy.How do you understand the flow of code? ›
- Run the code and explore the results.
- Find the main function or the start point of the code.
- Run the code under the debugger and fully understand the code's mechanics.
- Build a mindmap of the connections between the different code elements and use it at any time you interact with the code.
Flowchart is a graphical representation of an algorithm. Programmers often use it as a program-planning tool to solve a problem. It makes use of symbols which are connected among them to indicate the flow of information and processing. The process of drawing a flowchart for an algorithm is known as “flowcharting”.Why is reading code so hard? ›
The first reason code is harder to read than to write has to do with the sheer amount of data you need to keep in your head in order to read code. When you write code, you only need to remember the variables, algorithms, data, etc. relevant to the feature your are currently writing.How do you practice code reading? ›
- Pick the right codebase. ...
- Use tutorials and documentation. ...
- Scan the codebase to get a sense for the big picture.
- Run the program to see how it works, if you can. ...
- Set a timebox.
- 5 Simple Techniques to Write Your Code More Efficiently in Python. Make your code faster, easier to read, and more understandable. ...
- Creating Functions. ...
- Eliminate Unessential Operations. ...
- Use Packages to Your Advantage. ...
- Avoid Declaring Unnecessary Variables. ...
- Break Loops When Necessary.
What are the 5 basic symbols of flowchart? ›
What are the five basic flowchart symbols. The oval, rectangle, diamond, parallelogram and arrow are the basics. The oval marks the start/end. The rectangle represents any step in the process, like tasks or actions.Which programming language should I learn first flowchart? ›
Essentially if you just have a general interest in learning the concept of programming with a more general application you've gotta go with python.How do you memorize a flowchart? ›
- First, learn theory corresponding to the flowsheet completely, understand it. (materials required, quantities, pressures, reactions and process)
- Know what the symbols that you are using mean. ...
- Go through the flow diagram, understand it.
- Repeat the 3rd point until you've memorized.
Flowchart mapping as a tool is usually a critical part of process documentation, and is often part of instruction manuals and user guides, and most creators prefer such documentation in Word. Hence, it is simpler to create flowcharts in Word, since creating it in Excel would have its problems.Is creating a flowchart difficult Why? ›
You will have to use Word, Excel, or some other software that allows you to create shapes and plug words into them. This makes recreating flowcharts rather difficult, considering that they require shapes.How to convert C code to flowchart? ›
How to convert C code to Flowchart icons. Flowcode can convert C Code into Flowchart icons by using the Convert Custom C to Icons, right click menu item. Multiple C Code icons can be converted at once by dragging the mouse or by holding control and left clicking on icons to select multiple icons.