I realized I missed teaching those 8th graders, the course that started this blog, and enjoyed being a guess lecturer in the class. They have been playing with Scratch for a month now, have their ideas for the games they want to develop and have great enthusiasm for creating the games.
My colleague has done an amazing job for never having any formal education in programming and she also found a cool video to show them
Then I got to show them how to program a simple guessing game. Something every Intro to Programming I know does. The I am thinking of a Number... Can you Guess it. I love it because it does the simple loop, if statements, random numbers and variables.
It wraps the basics of programming into a nice package. With Scratch it also sets home what the video talks about, get the basics done then add more later. We get the basic game done and then add in a counter, make it look pretty, make it better. (Side note another colleague always would say what can you do to make it better, and I have adopted it -okay now make it better)
I was able to introduce some formal programming to them: what variables are, how to name them, Camel Casing, difference between when to use multiple if statements vs if-else, understanding how to change a counter, using random.
It was fun, the second class went better and I was able to have them write an outline of the guessing game so they can begin to formalize their thought processes. One thing I learned when working on games, that outline is so important. Having the steps of what you need to program is so important.
Ours was basic:
- Give Instructions I am thinking of the of the number
- Established the number in a way that is changing
- Ask for guess
- If answer greater or less than the number
- Say so
- Guess again if wrong until right answer is given…
I was able to tell them about some things they should watch out for when programming. Talking about what we have found in the past to work and what doesn't work.
Then as I was leaving at 5pm today, the Make it Better Colleague tweeted about the 4 o'clock club. I read the blog post, and smiled. See he and I had this conversation this summer about keeping each other on track to do more of what we want to do, blog, run workshops, get more involved in associations we are members of, etc. I took this as a sign to blog again. So I came home and after I worked out (Got a fitbit for Christmas and was determined to hit 10,000 steps the first day back but that is another blog) I sat down and wrote this...
It was a good day. I love talking Programming with both AP and 8th Grade today. I didn't get some of the other items done, but I had a good day. Looking forward to another one tomorrow!