teaching

Teaching Non-programmers what Programming is Like

Paul Bissex
How do you comprehensibly explain to non-programmers the challenges of programming? Why can’t you “just tell the computer what you want it to do”? A classic teaching tool for this is the “make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich” demo. Put out on the table a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly, a loaf of bread, and a knife. Tell them you are a robot (computer) that is physically capable of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but you need instruction (programming).