Posts Tagged ‘code’

Diving into Scratch

What a busy morning. A lot of hardwork, but a lot of fun, too, and plenty of challenges.

We began with looking at the steps of a line dance and how instead of talking through each movement they give a sequence of steps one name. So a ‘link’ is putting a foot to one side, crossing the other one behind it, then moving the first foot sideways again, before bringing up the second foot to meet it. A lot easier to say “Do a link,” than to run through that sequence of commands each time. And you can use it again and again in different dances. In fact every dance is a collection of these sets of steps. A bit like coding where you bring together sets of instructions rather than having to rewrite the code every time.

We put this into practice in http://studio.code.org where we used the activities based on the film Frozen. These started out fairly easy, then we had to join them together to make ever more complicated shapes, like snowflakes and linked circles.

Frozen coding with Anna

Then we put into practice what we had learned from the simulated coding environment in code.org  by coding for real in Scratch. Some people  hadn’t used it before, but everyone got to grips with it very quickly.

After a quick tour of the coding screen the task was to create a fish tank, put a fish in it, then get it to swim backwards and forwards.

Scratch fish tank

We had to use the ‘Forever’ command and get the fish to ‘bounce’ whenever it hit the sides, so it ended up swimming around the tank. At the end everyone was adding more fish and getting them to swim colourfully around together.

 

 

Drag till we drop coding

Today we started using drag and drop to code. This way you  don’t need to type in the instructions but select the ones you want then join them together to build up the instructions.

We began by using a floormat and giving each other instructions to move around it. We had typed commands that we then added in numbers of steps or turns to. This could prove challenging remembering which way to turn.

Then we used the Angry Birds game in studio.code.org .

Angry birds in studio code

Next we used 2Code in Purplemash. We had to give fish in an on-screen aquarium commands to make them move in the right direction.

fish tank 1

We all got to the point where we could add our own fish then program them to move when they were clicked. You could add as many fish as you wanted to. Nishat wanted to add a lot of fish.

nishat fish tank

She must like clown fish!

Some of them moved automatically. Others had to be clicked on to start them moving. We found you could click one fish and make a different one move.

Sometimes we had to think very hard to work out what to do. But everyone worked hard.

First steps in programming

Students from Langdon Park and Mulberry Schools are starting a ten week course in computer programming. To get started we thought about sequences and putting things in a logical, regular order that is always the same. Like you have to do in Line Up from Busythings. The Langdon Park group picked this up very quickly and took it in turns to put in the correct answer. The problems got harder using more colours and shapes, and changing the spaces that needed to be filled.

line up

Once they had that cracked we moved on to an activity needing logical thinking. In Block-a-doodle-doo you have to move vehicles out of the path of the chicken in the green car who is the worst driver ever, carrying on in a straight line, banging into things, and expecting everyone to get out of the way. If the monster on the motorbike catches the chicken he eats him.

Block a doodle doo

We talked about sequences in everyday life, things we do regularly without even realising we are following the same set of actions every time, like when we cross the road.

We went on to program a chicken to move through a maze picking up jewels on the way and avoiding monsters in Path Peril. This got harder and harder until there were five jewels and three monsters and no way to avoid them except by timing your moves right. It brought lots of laughs as the chicken got grabbed, gobbled and blown up.

Path peril

For the final activity we use J2Code and found the parking problem. Here a sequence of instructions is coded into a program to move a car from one parking bay to another. We watched as each line of code was run through then added and deleted lines to debug. We left the car park with several damaged cars!

j2eturtleparking

 

In our second session a week later we transformed one of our teachers into a Human Robot who only understood clear instructions: “Forward (x)” “Backward (x)” and “Turn right”, “Turn left” where X is the number of steps we wanted the robot to take. We had fun making the robot travel round the room and then describe some shapes.

Then we programmed the Mole to get the worm in the TES iboard activity Mole Maze  We made it move one step at a time, then made a list of all the instructions before pressing Go.  Remembering right and left was a bit tricky for some, especially when the Mole was facing downwards. We spent a very little bit of time remembering why we had to put “90” for a right angle, “180” for a half turn etc.

mole maze This activity comes with three levels and we all started on the easy level first.

We logged onto Purple Mash and used 2Go to programme some letters and other shapes. jack