[IAEP] GPA notes Thursday 7-9-09

Anurag Goel agoel23 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 18:22:33 EDT 2009

Here are some notes I took from today's session at GPA:

We got there around 10 a.m to set up all the computers, the projector, and
debug collaboration (still isn't working properly).

The kids came in around 11:30 and as usual sat on the rug in the middle of
the room. Walter told the kids the today we will be using Turtle Art to work
with number lines. Walter then showed some of the basic functions of Turtle
Art. Walter showed the kids how to change colors by inputting different
numbers into the Set Color box. Surprisingly none of the kids questioned why
we couldn't see what color we were selecting before we actually select it.
Perhaps we should allow kids to see what color they are selecting, similar
to how they select a color in Paint?

One kid asked, "how about the number 92?" Walter inputted the number 92 into
the set color box and the kids were surprised as the turtle starts drawing
in a purple color.

Next Walter showed how to set pensize.
Kid: can you do 1000?
Kids scream in excitement as the entire screen turns into an orange color
Walter plays around with other numerical values ranging from from 16 all the
way to 2009

Walter created a number line in Turtle Art in increments of 100.
Turtle starts at 0, goes to 100, 200, 300.
Next walter uses the back button to make the turtle go backwards in
increments of 100 until the turtle is back at 0.

Walter showed the kids how to print the value of the current x-coordinate.
Kid asked how can we make the number smaller. Walter changed the text size
using set text size.  He changed it to something really small. Kids says,
“now it’s tiny” same kids asks Walter to type her name on the screen.

Walter asked the kids to play around with text, forward, backward, line
thickness, and colors. Kids then leave the carpet to go to the computers.
One of the kids changed his XO color but after doing changing it the
computer would reboot and go to the Fedora login screen, instead of
rebooting directly to sugar. After pressing Enter, Sugar booted.
Kids seemed to be getting a better understanding of how Turtle Art works in
comparison to Tuesday. I noticed that kids were easily able to get rid of
blocks they did not want and move the Turtle back to the center of the
screen when they wanted to start over. I think the introduction at the
beginning of today's session was really beneficial for the students because
it gave them some kind of direction.

 Walter brought students back to the carpet to get their attention. Walter
asked, "Does everyone know what a map is?"
Kids: “YEAAA”
Walter showed kids a map of the Charles River on Turtle art.
Kid: How did you make that map appear?

Walter: I will explain that to you a little later.
Walter used the print-ycor and print-xcor buttons to show the kids how to
determine the x and y coordinates of the turtles current location. Walter
then used the Show block to write Gardner School where it was located on the
map. He then placed a Cartesian coordinate system on the map and used the
setyx block to show the students how the turtle can be placed on different
parts of the map such as the Gardner School and the Charles River
Reservation. Previously the kids assumed the setyx block was only to bring
the turtle back to the center of the screen.

Walter then showed the kids how to load a picture/map into Turtle Art.
Walter put a satellite map of the Gardner School and surrounding area into
Turtle Art.
Kids: “whoa”
Walter: "Now we will play with the map and label different things on the

However, by this time it was time for the kids to leave the computer lab so
they never actually got a chance to use Turtle Art to move around in the map
and label different sections. Perhaps we will continue with this activity
next week. The kids are supposed to go to the Charles River tomorrow for a
field trip. We are hoping the teachers will upload pictures of the field
trip online so we can use them next week in the Memorize activity.

Anurag Goel
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