Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Code Hunt for Review and Problem Solving

Code Hunt is something I have been experimenting with a bit this year. For those who are not familiar with it, Code Hunt “is an educational, browser-based coding game targeting teachers and students” (link to information about Code Hunt) I’ve used it in a couple of ways. I had my students do the standard Code Hunt puzzles for a while and I have used Code Hunt combined with Office Mix to provide some exercises following the audio recording of some PowerPoint presentations. I suggest them for review for my students. (Links to them are below if you want to check them out.

What I like about Code Hunt is that it forces students to do some critical thinking. They have clues to what the code should do and have to analyze it to understand the problem. Then they have to develop the code to provide the correct answer for the problem. They are forced to review the syntax so that is reinforced. But since they have to use the syntax is more than just a “fix this code” sort of thing.

I had two issues with the standard Code Hunt puzzles. One is that some of them are a bit too hard for my absolute beginning programming students. Great fun for more experienced coders of course. The other is that the solutions are findable via Internet search. Also not a totally bad thing but I’d rather some puzzles my students can’t find the answers for on the Internet.

This week we are reviewing before semester exams so I created my own set of levels and puzzles for my students. These C# Code Hunt puzzles are based on things we have done in class so they are optimized a bit towards the things I have tried to cover during the semester.

The four sections of my C# Code Hunt puzzles are basics (assignment statements with some math), Decisions (solved using if statements), strings (some basic string handling) and loops (loops required for solutions). I plan to use these earlier in the new semester in hopes that I can improve the connection between problem solving and understanding the programming concepts. I’ll probably try to come up with a second set for review. And they are going to appear in more Office Mixes as well.
Anyone else using Code Hunt with their classes? Any interest in sharing puzzles?

A great Office Mix lesson about getting started with Code Hunt may be found at

My Office Mixes with C# Code Hunt puzzles

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