Quietly and without fanfare, or even any comment or notice by software pundits, we have drifted into a situation where almost none of the millions of personal computers in America offers a line-programming language simple enough for kids to pick up fast.
And yet, they are tantalized! Ben has long complained that his math textbooks all featured little type-it-in-yourself programs at the end of each chapter -- alongside the problem sets -- offering the student a chance to try out some simple algorithm on a computer. Usually, it's an equation or iterative process illustrating the principle that the chapter discussed. These "TRY IT IN BASIC" exercises often take just a dozen or so lines of text. The aim is both to illustrate the chapter's topic (e.g. statistics) and to offer a little taste of programming.
What about “try it in R”? It was invented as a free and accessible teaching language for people to not have to buy S+, and it would be perfect for elementary math texts IMO. It can be used interactively, and offers a lot of room for growth (unlike basic).