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Re: OT: Teaching Second Graders Programming

by Ratazong (Monsignor)
on Mar 27, 2014 at 13:07 UTC ( #1079915=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to OT: Teaching Second Graders Programming

Hi Limbic~Region!

Sounds like a fun project, even if 10 minutes hands-on is very short.

I agree with the risk of chaos when the whole class should do a "live bubble-sort". I guess deciffering some text makes more sense, however a Caesar-Cipher won't force the students to sequentially perform steps (to simulate that they are a computer) - probably they will do some "random parallel" execution, by substituting the same character more than once if it occures several times in the text, and they will probably also guess some characters based on the context.

Do you know the board-game Robbo Rally? There you have to move a robot through a maze, having some programming-cards like "turn left 90", "go forward 3 steps" or "go backward 1 step". The maze itself has some fields that influence the robots, e.g. walls, holes or conveyor-belts (moving the robot when it lands there). Most fun (when playing) is however that all players do the programming for the next 5 steps at the same time - and that your planned paths may be influenced by other robots pushing you out of the way.

For the course, you could have a simple board and a set of about 8 commands for each student. Then you form teams of two: in the first step, both "write" a program with 5 of the 8 cards. Afterwards they simulate the program of the other. You might want to set a goal and evaluate who got nearest to it.

I have however no experience with using this idea in a training, so I don't know if it is too complex (or too easy). You probably need some time for experimenting yourself in addition in producing the course-material. On the other hand, it seems to fit nicely to the language scratch you want to show.

Good luck and much fun with your training!


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Re^2: OT: Teaching Second Graders Programming
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Mar 27, 2014 at 13:32 UTC
    Thanks. I think Robbo Rally would be great but even if I used the entire time slot, I don't think it would work. I said "something like a Caeser Cypher" because I wouldn't want the algorithm to always be the same single operation. I was thinking about making the letters different colors as well as inscribing them in different shapes. So each letter required going through a short algorithm with conditional branches (if green, add 3 to the number of places in the shift).

    Cheers - L~R

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