The 6th graders ended the week with a lesson on problem solving. The aim of the lesson was to have students experience computing (and computers) as tools for solving problems. In the younger grades, students are encouraged to use computers as a tool for creative expression. This modality enables the students to freely express themselves, and in the process they learn a variety of computing and programming techniques.
In the 6th grade, students will be provided specific problems (with detailed goals) to solve using computers. Besides designing programming solutions, students will also learn more about how computers work. Computing is not as frustrating as many students believe it is, however, it does require clear concise language in order to craft the appropriate sequence of commands which will yield the desired result.
This past Friday (and continuing through this week), students will be working on writing the correct computer code to solve the problem--- "What's my number?".
Below is an outline of the sequence of steps that the program needs to contain:
Step 1: The computer will generate a random number between 1 and 100
Step 2: The player (person) will make a guess between 1 and 100.
Step 3: The computer will compare the user input to the computer generated number
(a) If the numbers don't match, provide a hint and have the person guess again
(b) If the numbers do match, the game ends (or you can play again, if the user wants to).
Part of the learning process is coming up with the logic (Conditional Statements) (the comparison statements) to determine if the Player has guessed the correct number. The second part of the learning, is to determine the logic (Control Statements) which will enable the user to keep entering guesses (if needed).
Below is the skeleton code for the project:
The students found the lesson very rewarding --- "I usually do it easy, "peasy" (or ask someone else). But this was fun and I had to think about it!". Thank you John!
For the students first project in Scratch they were given the challenge of creating a "Dance Party". This project enabled them to explore Scratch 2.0 (which has many new features). There were no specific requirements for this introductory exercise, so each child was free to take the program as far as they wanted. Some students created a "Party" with multiple sprites and a variety of backdrops, while others focused their attention on a single sprite with a collection of dance moves.
Scratch is the ideal introductory programming language for the middle school students. Without the constraints of mastering syntax, students are free to focus their attention on learning to think creatively, work collaboratively and reason systematically.
With future projects, students will learn more advanced computing concepts (such as conditionals and loops). All of the students' projects will be shared and readily viewed through a Scratch studio.
Students began exploring Scratch
. We spent some time in class discussing Scratch and trying to determine what makes it special. To this end, each student wrote up a definition for Scratch. We then pulled-out the salient ideas and created the wordle
on the left.
The students impression of Scratch was very close to what the developers had in mind. According to the website - "you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations - and share your creations with other in the online community."
Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge
For the first time this year, the middle school students at the Lab School, will be using Google Drive. As an introductory exercise, the students created a shared Google Presentation. The students will continue to use Google (for collaboration) through out the rotation.