Sunday, February 8, 2015

Magic Cards (programming 15, projects 1)

Who: Baan Pathomtham Grade 5
Where: at school
when: Monday morning for 2 hours

Today, we began to focus on the projects for this term. These are the kids project ideas:
  • Gun and Boongie are both making mazes
  • Win is making a math worksheet game to quiz the younger students in arithmetic
  • Titus is making a version of the memory match game
We plan to follow this agenda for the rest of the term:
  1. New or review concepts
  2. Exercises related to the projects
  3. Project work


Today, we integrated this activity with the project exercises. For the future sessions, the three concepts we want to keep discussing are:
  • For loops: the kids are close to mastering these
  • Functions: still some confusion about the essential features, function calls and arguments
  • If statements: introduced this week, but will take more discussion.

Project Exercises

These exercises have several objectives. First, I want to help the students with their projects. Each exercise has at least one idea that can be used directly, or with small modification, in someone's project.

Second, I wanted them to really understand the concepts in the exercises. This group does best when they have a mix of experimentation, discussion, and explanation. Short snippets of code serve very well to catalyze these. It is also very useful to have them work on some material in common. In particular, during the experimentation, it is nearly guaranteed that at least one of the students will do something that nicely illustrates a critical aspect of the idea they are learning.

Third, I wanted to continue to make sure that everyone would have exposure to the interesting ideas in each project.

Here are student examples of the three exercises:
Clicking done by Boongie

If...Else done by Win

Forever and Turn done by Titus

Project Work

Boongie focused his time on drawing his maze. Gun tried to figure out a way to block the turtle from going through the barriers once he has drawn his maze. Win expanded the if-else pattern from the exercises, introducing variables to his write statements and random values. Titus added mini pictures to the outside of his memory game playing area.


For the most part, each student has different homework based on their project.
  • Gun and Boongie: draw the outline of the mazes
  • Win: work on how to respond when the player enters an incorrect answer and think about how to loop for multiple questions.
  • Titus: fill out the pictures on the boundary circle

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