Carve a Pumpkin With Code
Experience: 1st year, 3rd quarter
Practice: Creating computational artifacts, Testing and refining computational artifacts, and Communicating about computing
Concept: Algorithms, Control, Modularity, and Variables
Overview and Purpose
Coders continue to develop their understanding of pen blocks by creating algorithms to carve pumpkins. This purpose of this project is to reinforce understandings of how to draw shapes with code.
Objectives and Standards
- I will experiment with algorithmic sequences and combinations to carve a pumpkin.
- How can we experiment with algorithmic sequences and combinations to carve a pumpkin?
- I will create a pumpkin carving by experimenting with different algorithms.
- How can we create a pumpkin carving by experimenting with different algorithms?
1B-AP-10 Create programs that include sequences, events, loops, and conditionals
- Control structures specify the order (sequence) in which instructions are executed within a program and can be combined to support the creation of more complex programs. Events allow portions of a program to run based on a specific action. For example, students could write a program to explain the water cycle and when a specific component is clicked (event), the program would show information about that part of the water cycle. Conditionals allow for the execution of a portion of code in a program when a certain condition is true. For example, students could write a math game that asks multiplication fact questions and then uses a conditional to check whether or not the answer that was entered is correct. Loops allow for the repetition of a sequence of code multiple times. For example, in a program that produces an animation about a famous historical character, students could use a loop to have the character walk across the screen as they introduce themselves. (source)
1B-AP-09 Create programs that use variables to store and modify data.
- Variables are used to store and modify data. At this level, understanding how to use variables is sufficient. For example, students may use mathematical operations to add to the score of a game or subtract from the number of lives available in a game. The use of a variable as a countdown timer is another example. (source)
1B-AP-15 Test and debug (identify and fix errors) a program or algorithm to ensure it runs as intended.
- As students develop programs they should continuously test those programs to see that they do what was expected and fix (debug), any errors. Students should also be able to successfully debug simple errors in programs created by others. (source)
1B-AP-17 Describe choices made during program development using code comments, presentations, and demonstrations.
- People communicate about their code to help others understand and use their programs. Another purpose of communicating one's design choices is to show an understanding of one's work. These explanations could manifest themselves as in-line code comments for collaborators and assessors, or as part of a summative presentation, such as a code walk-through or coding journal. (source)
Practices and Concepts
Practice 5: Creating computational artifacts
- "The process of developing computational artifacts embraces both creative expression and the exploration of ideas to create prototypes and solve computational problems. Students create artifacts that are personally relevant or beneficial to their community and beyond. Computational artifacts can be created by combining and modifying existing artifacts or by developing new artifacts. Examples of computational artifacts include programs, simulations, visualizations, digital animations, robotic systems, and apps." (p. 80)
- P5.2. Create a computational artifact for practical intent, personal expression, or to address a societal issue. (p. 80)
- P5.3. Modify an existing artifact to improve or customize it. (p. 80)
Practice 6: Testing and refining computational artifacts
- "Testing and refinement is the deliberate and iterative process of improving a computational artifact. This process includes debugging (identifying and fixing errors) and comparing actual outcomes to intended outcomes. Students also respond to the changing needs and expectations of end users and improve the performance, reliability, usability, and accessibility of artifacts." (p. 81)
- P6.1. Systematically test computational artifacts by considering all scenarios and using test cases." (p. 81)
- P6.2. Identify and fix errors using a systematic process. (p. 81)
Practice 7: Communicating about computing
- "Communication involves personal expression and exchanging ideas with others. In computer science, students communicate with diverse audiences about the use and effects of computation and the appropriateness of computational choices. Students write clear comments, document their work, and communicate their ideas through multiple forms of media. Clear communication includes using precise language and carefully considering possible audiences." (p. 82)
- P7.2. Describe, justify, and document computational processes and solutions using appropriate terminology consistent with the intended audience and purpose. (p. 82)
- "Algorithms are designed to be carried out by both humans and computers. In early grades, students learn about age-appropriate algorithms from the real world. As they progress, students learn about the development, combination, and decomposition of algorithms, as well as the evaluation of competing algorithms." (p. 91)
- Grade 5 "Different algorithms can achieve the same result. Some algorithms are more appropriate for a specific context than others." (p. 103)
- "Modularity involves breaking down tasks into simpler tasks and combining simple tasks to create something more complex. In early grades, students learn that algorithms and programs can be designed by breaking tasks into smaller parts and recombining existing solutions. As they progress, students learn about recognizing patterns to make use of general, reusable solutions for commonly occurring scenarios and clearly describing tasks in ways that are widely usable." (p. 91)
- Grade 5 "Programs can be broken down into smaller parts to facilitate their design, implementation, and review. Programs can also be created by incorporating smaller portions of programs that have already been created." (p. 104)
- "Control structures specify the order in which instructions are executed within an algorithm or program. In early grades, students learn about sequential execution and simple control structures. As they progress, students expand their understanding to combinations of structures that support complex execution." (p. 91)
- Grade 5 - "Control structures, including loops, event handlers, and conditionals, are used to specify the flow of execution. Conditionals selectively execute or skip instructions under different conditions." (p. 103)
- "Computer programs store and manipulate data using variables. In early grades, students learn that different types of data, such as words, numbers, or pictures, can be used in different ways. As they progress, students learn about variables and ways to organize large collections of data into data structures of increasing complexity." (p. 91)
- Grade 5 - "Programming languages provide variables, which are used to store and modify data. The data type determines the values and operations that can be performed on that data." (p. 103)
- A step-by-step process to complete a task. (source)
- A formula or set of steps for solving a particular problem. To be an algorithm, a set of rules must be unambiguous and have a clear stopping point. (source)
- The process of finding and correcting errors (bugs) in programs. (source)
- To find and remove errors (bugs) from a software program. Bugs occur in programs when a line of code or an instruction conflicts with other elements of the code. (source)
- An action or occurrence detected by a program. Events can be user actions, such as clicking a mouse button or pressing a key, or system occurrences, such as running out of memory. Most modern applications, particularly those that run in Macintosh and Windows environments, are said to be event-driven,because they are designed to respond to events. (source)
- The computational concept of one thing causing another thing to happen. (source)
- Any identifiable occurrence that has significance for system hardware or software. User-generated events include keystrokes and mouse clicks; system-generated events include program loading and errors. (source)
- A programming structure that repeats a sequence of instructions as long as a specific condition is true. (source)
- In a loop structure, the program asks a question, and if the answer requires an action, it is performed and the original question is asked again until the answer is such that the action is no longer required. For example, a program written to compute a company’s weekly payroll for each individual employee will begin by computing the wages of one employee and continue performing that action in a loop until there are no more employee wages to be computed, and only then will the program move on to its next action. Each pass through the loop is called an iteration. (source)
- The computational concept of running the same sequence multiple times. (source)
- The characteristic of a software/web application that has been divided (decomposed) into smaller modules. An application might have several procedures that are called from inside its main procedure. Existing procedures could be reused by recombining them in a new application (source)
- Refers to processes that occur simultaneously. Printers and other devices are said to be either parallel or serial. Parallel means the device is capable of receiving more than one bit at a time (that is, it receives several bits in parallel). Most modern printers are parallel. (source)
- The computational concept of making things happen at the same time. (source)
- One or more Scratch blocks connected together to form a sequence. Scripts begin with an event block that responds to input (e.g., mouse click, broadcast). When triggered, additional blocks connected to the event block are executed one at a time. (source)
More vocabulary words from CSTA
- Potential subjects: Art, math, media arts
- Example(s): The shapes and designs in this project explore altering the values of X and Y coordinates to change the carver’s location, which relates to coordinate planes in math. Click here to see other examples and share your own ideas on our subforum dedicated to integrating projects or click here for a studio with similar projects.
- Scientists sometimes experiment with different combinations or sequences of processes or chemicals in order to uncover new understandings or achieve desired results. For example, some food companies hire scientists to study optimal combinations and amounts of various ingredients in a product to maximize taste while minimizing cost. In this case we are experimenting with algorithms to create different shapes and designs. Click here to visit a website dedicated to exploring potential careers through coding.