A decade of discourse to capture the essence of computational thinking (CT) has resulted in a set of skills whose teaching at the K-12 level poses many challenges because of the reliance on the use of electronic computers and programming concepts that are often found too abstract and difficult by young students. This article attempts to link cognition to basic computational processes, particularly modeling and simulation that is known to facilitate deductive and inductive inquiries by scientists for decades. Empirical data from a quasi-experimental study in 15 secondary schools suggests a similar impact on student learning. This is consistent with learning theories that students learn science in the way that scientists think and work. In this article, we offer a viewpoint on the essence of CT and suggest that we teach students relevant cognitive habits prior to teaching them electronic CT skills. This will not only improve their critical thinking skills but also their motivation and readiness to learn electronic CT skills.
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