'15-'16 General Discussion for Lesson 3.8


Use this thread to discuss your questions and comments about how to run the lesson.


Had this question today from a student who has a good bit of self-taught programming knowledge (quite possibly more than I do) – why aren’t we doing some of the “basics,” like declaring variables or iteration vs. recursion?
EDIT: (I now see/remember that iteration is discussed specifically in the next lesson. My bad.)

I told him that I guessed that the reason for this is because the way the curriculum is going here is decidedly more fun, but I didn’t have an answer as to why we were skipping this for now. Anyone have a better answer?

  1. “Read the documentation for the these blocks.” (the these = typo)
  2. When you hover above the blocks for random number, no documentation appears. Does anyone else have this problem? I’m probably missing something that’s fairly obvious (wouldn’t be the first time).


Hey Michael,

I wanted to get back to you on your question. It’s definitely the case that we’re not taking a more traditional route into programming. The goal with the curriculum, controlling what blocks are in the palette, etc. is that students are only responsible for a small subset of the language at first, and that they’re shown early on the kinds of things they can do with them. I would agree that this is a more fun way to be introduced to concepts, and ideally everything students are seeing will be well-motivated by the kinds of problems they’re solving.

I’m sure you’re not the only teacher who has some students with programming experience. I’m curious to hear how you and others navigate this throughout the unit. Thanks for sharing!



Hi Joe,

Thanks for the feedback! I have fixed the typo you pointed out. There seems to be a bug with the documentation for random number not popping up. Our development team is looking into the reason and hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Thanks for helping us improve CS Principles!



I’ll be sure to keep in touch with our progress. I consider myself a bit lucky in that I have a group of only 8 students this year, which is nice as we feel our way through this course.


Good morning. I have another misstep of mine I’d like you to look at.

appLab is saying that my code cannot be converted back to block. I cannot find the difference between my code (specifically drawFish function) and the sample answer.




Also, I use the kids who have programming experience as mentors to students with no programming experience. I try to emphasize the “buddy system” as much as possible.


Hi Dillon,

The code you sent seems to transition fine for me. In general if you have an issue with a line of code preventing you from transitioning to block mode its best to delete it and try to add it back in in block mode that way you know the syntax is right.



Hey Dillon,

Is there any chance you’re on the math toolbox while you’re trying to go into block mode? There’s a known issue right now with not being able to go to block mode while the math toolbox is selected in some of the levels.



My class is working on Lesson 3.4. The functions in bubble 6 do not work. You can create any function you want but when ‘run’ is clicked the pointer doesn’t do anything. My students are getting pretty frustrated. I thought I had seen a post about this last week, but I can’t find that today. Can anyone give us some suggestions?


Hi - Could you give me some more details about what is not working? It looks like Lesson 3.6 Bubble 6 has students just calling existing functions that someone else wrote. Are students trying to write their own copies of the existing functions? That would cause issues because they would have two copies of the same thing. Instead they want to call the function twice. This is just my guess of the issue so if something else is going on let me know. Check out the pictures below for more details.

Creating a Function looks like this (You only want to create a function once.):

Calling a Function looks like this:
If you call it once:

If you call it twice:

Hope that helps but let me know if something else is going on.



Thanks for responding Dani. This was totally on me. I focussed on their functions and didn’t notice they weren’t calling the function! Got a little carried away with the tunnel vision. All is working great and my students are really being challenged.


No worries! It happens! There is a lot to keep track of. :slight_smile:


When you watch the tutorial video. You can see the programmer highlight a set of commands and then copy them to a different part of the program. I can’t seem to make this happen. I can highlight a group of code but i don’t know how to copy it down below.

Thanks for your help in advance