Earlier this week I introduced a simple Turtle graphics program. The program itself (written in Visual Basic) was created by one of the teachers I work with. It implements some of the Logo turtle graphics commands. I showed this to the students in my applications course (a break from learning Microsoft Office) and after showing them a subset of the commands (Forward, Right, Repeat) I asked them to play around with it to see what turned up.
Students reacted differently. Some jumped in right away, tried a lot of options or asked about more commands. Others took what I had demonstrated and played with the numbers – some randomly and some with more understanding. Others just sort of wondered what to do. The ones who fearlessly tried stuff had more fun than most BTW.
I learned more than the students did though. I learned that I need to explain what is happening better than I did this time for one thing. I also learned that freshmen high school students don’t all have the same grasp of the relationship between angles and shapes that come second nature to me. Of course you move 72 degrees for a pentagon. A what? So I need to explain more about what is going on. I am going to revisit programming later this semester (this was a teaser of sorts) and we’ll see what happens then.
Still I think some had some fun and they did at least get the computer to do something creative. I have a few of the interesting images posted below.
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