Week 3 (10.12)

Getting func-y with it

This week, students learned to simplify their code by defining and calling functions − as a result, they were able to create impressively complex programs with only a few lines of code!

What's a function, exactly? Put simply, it's a programmer's shortcut, enabling one to execute multiple commands with a single line of code. By defining a function, a programmer can create a sub-routine which completes a specific sub-task, then call that function into service in order to complete a larger, more complex task. Just as loops help programmers eliminate repeated code, so do functions! Better yet, programmers can even combine loops with functions to save themselves a considerable amount of work!

Using functions, students were able to "teach" Tracy new commands, such as how to draw a square() or triangle(). In addition, students learned how to add pizazz to their programs by configuring Tracy's artistic settings, such as her color() and pensize(). Check out the following videos for a recap of all we covered this week!

3.3 Functions
3.4 Artistic Effects

Below is a review of the commands students learned at this week's class; the slides from Saturday can be found here!

2_commands

By the end of the lesson, students were using the commands above to try their hands at the following challenges:

3.1: Tracy's Triangles 3.1_triangles
3.2: Starry Night 3.2_stars
3.3: Fresh Forest 3.3_forest

Last but certainly not least, this week's spotlight video highlighted the wide range of career possiblities within computer science and technology, from fashion to agriculture, medicine to energy, and from art to entertainment. The only limit in computer science is one's imagination!

As a reminder, students can access their CodeHS account and all associated Technovation materials from any internet-connected computer; as such, we encourage them to try a few of the challenge activities this week if they didn't have a chance to on Saturday!

It's crazy to believe we're already through Week 3, but time flies when you're having fun! We look forward to welcoming students back next week and watching them continue to grow as programmers, problem-solvers, and collaborators over the next six weeks.

See you next Saturday!
-The Technovation Team

Week 2 (10.5)

Extending the basics

After a long week away from the keyboard, students were eager to learn and brought their A-game; as such, we made incredible progress as a class and completed three modules in CodeHS:

2.1 Turning Tracy
2.2: For Loops
2.3: Turning Tracy Using Angles

Our spotlight video emphasized the importance of a growth mindset in the world of computer science, and students clearly embraced the message!

Week 2 primarily focused on solidifiying the foundation constructed in Week 1; students learned to turn Tracy with the left(number) and right(number) commands, control her speed with the speed(number) command, and move her from point to point using the setposition(x, y) command.

Students also learned to simplify and remove redundancy from their code by using for loops, which designate a certain number of commands to be repeated more than one time. Efficiency is a goal every programmer strives for, and writing loops in place of repeated commands enabled students to produce incredibly sophisticated drawings with only a few lines of code!

Below is a review of the commands students learned at this week's class; the slides from Saturday can be found here!

2_commands

By the end of the lesson, students were using the commands above to write programs which produced the following graphics:

2.1: Snowflake 2.1_snowflake
2.2: Checkerboard 2.2_checkerboard
2.3: Concentric Polygons 2.3_concentric_polygons

As a reminder, students can access their CodeHS account and all associated Technovation materials from any internet-connected computer; as such, we encourage them to try a few of the challenge activities this week if they didn't have a chance to on Saturday!

We're proud of our students' hard work the past two weeks, and look forward to seeing them continue to progress in Week 3!

See you next Saturday!
-The Technovation Team

Week 1 (9.28)

Welcome to Technovation!

Ready or not, we're off to the races!

Today, we welcomed the fall 2019 class of Technovators to our program and introduced the basics of Python and Tracy the Turtle with CodeHS, an online, interactive coding platform around which our curriculum is centered.

After a short "find someone who..." icebreaker to get things started, students filled out the Technovation Pre-Survey and configured their CodeHS accounts, enrolling in the fall 2019 section of Technovation on the platform. Students then watched an inspiring Spotlight video ("What Most Schools Don't Teach") courtesy of Code.org and discussed how programming skills can be a "hidden superpower" in the 21st century before stepping back and thinking about what programming really is.

The conclusion? Programming is what one makes of it − after all, programming is nothing more than giving a computer a set of directions to perform a task! Whether one chooses to instruct a computer to create an animation, compute the solutions to an equation, play a game against a human, or display information on a webpage is up to the computer scientist herself; with programming, one can accomplish anything she sets her mind to!

Finally, students dove into the basics of Python, a programming language which formalizes how a computer scientist can "talk" to a computer, and were introduced Tracy the Turtle, a module within Python which draws the output of a user's program. Students watched Introduction to Tracy and Tracy's Grid World to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals, then attempted a handful of challenge activities to solidify their grasp on the material. Below is a review of the commands students learned at this week's class; the slides from Saturday can be found here!

2_commands

By the end of the lesson, students were using the commands above to write programs which produced the following graphics:

1.1: Stretched Slinky 1.1_stretched_slinky
1.2: Caterpillar 1.2_caterpillar
1.3: Short Dashed Line 1.3_short_dash

As a reminder, students can access their CodeHS account and all associated Technovation materials from any internet-connected computer; as such, we encourage them to try a few of the challenge activities this week if they didn't have a chance to on Saturday!

We're thrilled to have seen such excitement and engagement at our first week, and look forward to the eight weeks ahead of us where students will continue to develop as problem-solvers and 21st-century leaders by learning to code.

See you next Saturday!
-The Technovation Team