squeak smalltalk for high school class, lesson plans? 
Author Message
 squeak smalltalk for high school class, lesson plans?

I accepted a part time position teaching computer science at a high
school here in Denver for the trimester. I will use Squeak Smalltalk
from squeakland.org, starting Thursday.

Can anybody suggest a lesson plan?

I've read the good GA Tech professor's book on squeak... seemed a little
advanced for high schoolers. Was thinking of using e-toys but could use
a plan. Ideas? Better yet: urls?

--
Alan Wostenberg
wired teams     http://www.*-*-*.com/   +1 303 431 6787



Sun, 17 Jul 2005 10:59:39 GMT  
 squeak smalltalk for high school class, lesson plans?

Quote:
> I accepted a part time position teaching computer science at a high
> school here in Denver for the trimester. I will use Squeak Smalltalk
> from squeakland.org, starting Thursday.

> Can anybody suggest a lesson plan?

Not a lesson plan, but some thoughts:

I have taught a number of high school students Dolphin Smalltalk as part of
an internship program.  The first thing I try to do is explain the concept
of objects.  I try to get them oriented with the class browser.  Then I give
them a brief overview of some of the Collection and Number classes. Their
first assignment is a statistics class:
============
Create a well-named class that will be used to support some simple
statistical operations upon a collection of numbers.  The class should hold
the collection of numbers.

The operations to implement are:

            Sum

            Mean

            Median

            Mode

            Min

            Max

============
I help them implement the mean then let them explore on their own a little,
helping them with hints as needed.  I also try to make a point of showing
them how to answer their own questions using the browser.  I let them
implement the methods in non-ideal ways at first, then I show them how to
refactor duplicated code and help them think about using more complex
collection classes such as Bags, etc...

After they are more comfortable with the basic principles of Smalltalk I
introduce them to the GUI stuff.  Most of the students have been able to
grasp Smalltalk quite well within a few months.  It depends upon their prior
experience and motivation.

I suppose the Squeak philosophy is to stress visual things more and sooner,
and that may be great.  My approach may be biased more towards business
logic.  If you do take a more visual approach one thing to be careful of is
to make it seem useful.  I remember my first BASIC class in middle school,
the whole class was about writing code to draw pictures on the screen.  We
turned in our assignments by printing the screen and the code.  At first it
was interesting, but it got boring fast.  I wanted to learn how to write
useful code, not make pretty pictures the hard way.  Maybe its just me but I
always wanted to write useful tools.  My first real program in C was a file
manager (it was very cool for a DOS program!).

Time limitations can be difficult.  However I think it would be cool to
build up to a real project that solves a real problem.  Possibly the
students could have an opportunity to do their own projects.  Or you could
find a need for a program, perhaps a local food bank or charity of some sort
needs a simple database tool.  It may be best not to make commitments, but
it would give the students a chance to solve a real program using a
sophisticated development tool.  I am currently writing a Cemetery database
program in Smalltalk for a Boy Scout's Eagle Scout project.  I think there
may be a real need for this type of thing in many charities.  It would be an
outstanding experience for the students and give them a sense of
accomplishment.

Chris



Sun, 17 Jul 2005 12:49:53 GMT  
 squeak smalltalk for high school class, lesson plans?


Quote:
> I accepted a part time position teaching computer science at a high
> school here in Denver for the trimester. I will use Squeak Smalltalk
> from squeakland.org, starting Thursday.

> Can anybody suggest a lesson plan?

> I've read the good GA Tech professor's book on squeak... seemed a little
> advanced for high schoolers. Was thinking of using e-toys but could use
> a plan. Ideas? Better yet: urls?

Don't count the high-school set out. The high school my son goes to
teaches C++ as the only programming course. If they can be successful
doing that (but, I don't know if they are), you can be successful using
Mark Guzdial's book.

Doug Swartz



Sun, 17 Jul 2005 13:28:32 GMT  
 squeak smalltalk for high school class, lesson plans?

Quote:

> I accepted a part time position teaching computer science at a high
> school here in Denver for the trimester. I will use Squeak Smalltalk
> from squeakland.org, starting Thursday.

> Can anybody suggest a lesson plan?

> I've read the good GA Tech professor's book on squeak... seemed a little
> advanced for high schoolers. Was thinking of using e-toys but could use
> a plan. Ideas? Better yet: urls?

Make it *fun*.  When I taught masters students they were really
motivated by the graphics.  My favourite project was "hunters and prey"
where glyphs for various predator "creatures" would chase glyphs for
various prey "creatures".  The problem lends itself naturally to an
inheritance hierarchy of graphics objects.  Some students got inventive,
introducing elements I hadn't suggested like stop signs.

Another project that went well was constructing a patience game.  But I
suggest that anything graphical (orbital simulations?) and especially
anything interactive will do well.

The students had to master arithmetic, 2-d geometry, collections and
graphics to be able to do the project.  So work back from the project
requirements and make that the curriculum.  Certainly make sure you keep
the students interest along the way, e.g. with cool demos.  But my
experience was that students loved using the environment as it was so
much more fun to use than anything computational in their previous
experience.

Quote:

> --
> Alan Wostenberg
> wired teams    http://www.psalmweaver.com   +1 303 431 6787

--
_______________,,,^..^,,,____________________________
Eliot Miranda              Smalltalk - Scene not herd


Mon, 18 Jul 2005 04:11:43 GMT  
 squeak smalltalk for high school class, lesson plans?

Quote:

> The students had to master arithmetic, 2-d geometry, collections and
> graphics to be able to do the project.  So work back from the project
> requirements and make that the curriculum.  Certainly make sure you keep
> the students interest along the way, e.g. with cool demos.  But my
> experience was that students loved using the environment as it was so
> much more fun to use than anything computational in their previous
> experience.

Thanks for the tips. Loved the ideas.

Regarding turtle graphics, do you think it's necessary to start with
physical models or cut straight to the computer?

For example, I was thinking on day 1 of pairing up kids, one is the
turtle, the other, commands him: "go forward two steps; turn right 90
degrees", etc. So they can get turtle geometry by living it.

Day 2 we do it in Squeak on computer.

I think the physical simulation would be a hoot... but is it talking
down to them?

-- Alan Wostenberg



Mon, 18 Jul 2005 11:03:15 GMT  
 squeak smalltalk for high school class, lesson plans?

Quote:



> I suppose the Squeak philosophy is to stress visual things more and sooner,
> and that may be great.  My approach may be biased more towards business
> logic.  If you do take a more visual approach one thing to be careful of is
> to make it seem useful.  I remember my first BASIC class in middle school,
> the whole class was about writing code to draw pictures on the screen.  We
> turned in our assignments by printing the screen and the code.  At first it
> was interesting, but it got boring fast.  I wanted to learn how to write
> useful code, not make pretty pictures the hard way.  Maybe its just me but I
> always wanted to write useful tools.  My first real program in C was a file
> manager (it was very cool for a DOS program!).

Thanks for your comments.

Yes, squeakland.org etoysstresses the visuals. You draw the thing, the
animate it.  The programs are useless, in the sense that a piece of fine
art is useless. Kay at http://www.squeakland.org/learn/index.html
comments "Much of today's motivation for the education of children is
vocational -- to prepare children for the job market. More important is
the need to raise voting citizens to join the "big conversation" with
enough background, thinking skills, and points of view to participate
fully in a democracy "... heady stuff.

Quote:
> Time limitations can be difficult.  However I think it would be cool to
> build up to a real project that solves a real problem.  Possibly the
> students could have an opportunity to do their own projects.  Or you could
> find a need for a program, perhaps a local food bank or charity of some sort
> needs a simple database tool.  It may be best not to make commitments, but
> it would give the students a chance to solve a real program using a
> sophisticated development tool.  I am currently writing a Cemetery database
> program in Smalltalk for a Boy Scout's Eagle Scout project.  I think there
> may be a real need for this type of thing in many charities.  It would be an
> outstanding experience for the students and give them a sense of
> accomplishment.

I have half a trimester -- 25 1 hour work sessions.  I'll take a second
look at Mark Guzdial's book.

Reading http://www.squeakland.org/about/main2.html it would seem like
e-toys is the place to start, perhaps we'll build the solar system.

-- Alan Wostenberg



Mon, 18 Jul 2005 11:15:51 GMT  
 squeak smalltalk for high school class, lesson plans?

Quote:


> > The students had to master arithmetic, 2-d geometry, collections and
> > graphics to be able to do the project.  So work back from the project
> > requirements and make that the curriculum.  Certainly make sure you keep
> > the students interest along the way, e.g. with cool demos.  But my
> > experience was that students loved using the environment as it was so
> > much more fun to use than anything computational in their previous
> > experience.

> Thanks for the tips. Loved the ideas.

> Regarding turtle graphics, do you think it's necessary to start with
> physical models or cut straight to the computer?

Straight to the computer.  One thing is that the results of graphics
bugs are usually just as fun :)

Quote:

> For example, I was thinking on day 1 of pairing up kids, one is the
> turtle, the other, commands him: "go forward two steps; turn right 90
> degrees", etc. So they can get turtle geometry by living it.

I suspect you'll find the kids will get the idea on the computer much
quicker, and enjoy the immediacy.  But you can help this by eliminating
any irrelevant difficulties.  For example you might create a turtle
graphics image that contained just one window with the turtle already
set-up, along with some simple doits (or buttons that fire doits) and
set up the students' machines so that the image was launched by just
clicking an icon on the desktop.  Then they wouldn't have to first
master filing-in code, starting the image, etc, etc, etc...

Quote:

> Day 2 we do it in Squeak on computer.

> I think the physical simulation would be a hoot... but is it talking
> down to them?

I think the physical simulation would be a hot for, say, concurrent
algorithms.  But I don't know.  Try it and see.

Some of the problems I did find while teaching were that people
progressed at very different rates and also understood systems in very
different ways.  For example I remember one student who really didn't
get Smalltalk until we looked at the VM and he saw the message lookup
algorithm.  Once he had a comprehensible model of dynamic binding he
felt happy and confident using it.  So some people are happy to
understand things top-down but others prefer bottom-up, etc.  I don't
know how to deal with such issues other than by being observant and
encouraging free and open communication, especially so that people don't
feel ashamed to reveal they don't understand something.

One thing that I think helped me in teaching was that I still had
reasonably strong memories of learning Smalltalk, and hence what were
and how I learned key concepts.  Alas these memories are beginning to
fade ;)  But you should be able to see how your students do.  Keep notes
on how they do and then next year you'll do a better job :)  [plus you
might have some students from last year's class interested in
assisting!!]

Good luck, and please report ion your experiences.  I'm sure you're
going to have loads of fun doing it.

Quote:

> -- Alan Wostenberg

--
_______________,,,^..^,,,____________________________
Eliot Miranda              Smalltalk - Scene not herd


Mon, 25 Jul 2005 03:42:54 GMT  
 
 [ 7 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. Menino unveils plans for high-tech school in Hub

2. My High school Programming class needs a good cobol compiler

3. lesson plans

4. lesson plans

5. LOGO-L> Lesson Plans

6. Lesson plans

7. Beginning Logo lesson plans/project ideas?

8. LOGO-L> Lesson plans

9. LOGO-L> Lessons Plans

10. LOGO-L> lesson plans

11. LOGO/StarLogo: Lesson Plans, Curricula, Getting Started Ideas

12. LOGO-L> Lesson Plans

 

 
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software