[IAEP] GPA Notes from 7-14-09
agoel23 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 14 23:35:06 EDT 2009
Here are some notes from GPA today (7-14-09)
We got there around 10:30. We cloned new sticks with a new version of the
Memorize Activity. The Memorize activity was supposed to allow us to use the
Speak program to create voice tags for cards. However, Turtle Art terminated
whenever we tried to create voice tags. We set up the projector and the
computers before the kids came in.
The kids came around 11:30. We gave them their sticks and they booted their
computers before taking a seat on the rug. Then Caroline began her
Caroline: Today we are going to put a map of the Charles River into Turtle
Art. Who knows how we can do that?
Kid: We can use the “Show” Button
Caroline: (Puts up map of CR)
Kid: I don’t get it. How did that turtle do that?
Caroline: (Briefly explained the concept of journals and how u can take
information saved in your journal and import it into Turtle Art)
Caroline: (Drags the turtle to the top left corner so the map fits properly
with the screen)
Caroline: How can we do this without dragging the turtle each time?
Kid: We can use s-e-t-x-y
Caroline: (asks kids for different x, y values to see which combo works the
Most kids were able to guess the y value after a few rounds of guessing and
checking. After we explained the concept of negative numbers, kids were able
to better predict the x value of the starting position. The idea that (0,0)
is the center really helped the children understand how the coordinate
Caroline: What button can we use to make the map bigger?
Kid: set scale
(Caroline played around with different values that the kids called out, even
I was pretty impressed with how well the kids retained information after
just one week. Most of them remembered the functionality of more difficult
commands such as “setxy,” “xcor”, “ycor”, “scale”. The kids were a lot more
comfortable with the basics such as changing color, size, and simply getting
the turtle to move around the screen.
Next we let the kids go to their computers and open Turtle Art. The kids
imported the map and labeled different parts. Some kids were able to import
the map and label different parts as one series of commands whereas others
had buttons in different parts of the screen and didn’t follow any
particular order. An example of a successful series of commands to import
the map and label the school is as follows:
Setxy: x= -350 y= 300
Show: Charles River (image file from journal)
Setxy: x = -10 y = -50
Kids reconvened at the rug after playing around with Turtle Art and getting
the map to appear on the screen with proper scales.
Caroline and student demonstrated how to label different parts of the map by
making predictions for x and y values.
Kid: How do I change the text size?
Caroline: We can use the set text size. However the block must go before the
show block. (This really helped kids understand the order of the bricks) For
example, the setxy should come before show. Caroline now asked the students
to create a simple program that labels different parts of the map all as one
series of blocks.
The kids then went back to the computers for 5-10 min until they had to
leave. By the end of the 1-hour session most kids had a pretty good
understanding of how a Cartesian coordinate system works. Some kids
progressed quite faster than others as expected. On Thursday we hope to
focus more attention on the kids who still do not have the basic concepts
After the students left we worked on collaboration issues. We got rid of the
jabber key and enabled logs. By the end of the day we were able to
successfully collaborate locally with about 5 computers. Collaboration on
jabber.sugarlabs.org is still a little flaky. Tomorrow we plan to test
collaboration among the entire class locally.
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