The Creation of Animated Graphs to Develop Computational Thinking and Support STEM Education

  • Alice Barana
  • Alberto Conte
  • Cecilia Fissore
  • Francesco Floris
  • Marina Marchisio
  • Matteo SacchetEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 1125)


Problem solving and computational thinking are the key competences that all individuals need for professional fulfillment, personal development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment. In mathematics, during contextualized problem solving using Maple, the differences between these two skills become thinner. A very important feature of Maple for problem solving is the programming of animated graphs: an animation obtained by generalizing a static graph, choosing the parameter to be varied and its interval of variation. The first objective of this research is to analyze the computational thinking processes behind the creation of animated graphs for the resolution of a contextualized problem. To this end, we selected and analyzed some resolutions of problems carried out by fourth-grade students of upper secondary schools in Italy (grade 12). The paper shows some examples in which different processes of computational thinking have emerged, which reflect resolutive strategies and different generalization processes. From the analysis it emerged that all the processes underlying the mental strategies of the computational thought useful for solving problems are activated in the creation of animated graphs. In the second part of the article we discuss examples of animations created during training activities with secondary school teachers, and how animations can support the learning of scientific concepts. It is very important to train the teachers in this regard, both to understand the processes that the students would activate during the creation of animated graphics and to enrich the theoretical or practical explanations with animated representations.


Advanced computing environment Animated graphs Computational thinking Problem solving Animations STEM education 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health SciencesUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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