Here's a practice assignment for creating algorithms in App Lab


#1

I started the Create Task recently and I have a feeling my students are very unaccustomed to creating algorithms in the absence of guidance. I feel they’ve become too dependent on being walked through everything step-by-step, and I’m sure a lot of their lack of practice is due to my not holding them accountable while they just click through the assignments when the going gets tough.

Anyhow, I thought I’d try some last-minute less-guidance (or no-guidance) practice.

I created an assignment on App Lab with 3 simple tasks. They’re simple, but I have a feeling a lot of my students will get stuck, simply because of things like they are not told to create a variable when one is needed.

Okay, the assignment is basically nearly identical to the first few code.org App Lab lessons about variables. :grin:

Here are my directions to students:

  1. Access the assignment in App Lab via the link: https://studio.code.org/projects/applab/VtuLy7uOf-_IUmgmZqjdGQ
  2. Click the “View Code” button
  3. Click the “Remix” button
  4. Do the 3 tasks given in the code section
  5. To submit, click “Share”, then copy the link and submit it to me via (whatever your preferred method as a teacher).

I stole the idea of giving assignments/assessments as an app remix from someone - sorry, I forgot who.

If anyone else uses this, I’d love feedback on how it can be improved.

(Update: See a couple posts down for a few more problems I posted)


#2

I love this!

I, too noticed a bit of floundering when I had students finish up the ColorSleuth App at the end with less guidance, it was rocky. I am thankful I had some extra time to work in a few more group/independent projects that were much more free. I think that helped me see where students had misconceptions (where to put functions/event handlers was a big one!!!).

I love the scaffolding, and some students REALLY need it, but it is difficult to take that away a bit from students! My tasks were much larger for students, but I like these smaller mini-tasks for students - I’ll certainly use this next year!

Thanks for sharing this!


#3

I agree with you and @kaitie_o_bryan. I tried out your remix assignment and I thought it was great. You have inspired me to create other problem sets like this throughout Units 3 and 5 for additional “cord cutting.”

Well done!


#4

Here’s a short one (swap the values of two variables - not as intuitive as one thinks it is):

Another, this time stolen from CS Discoveries Unit 6 :grin:

Here’s a heftier 3-part one, a simple game…

This one is actually not that tough logically, but the real task is I ask students to organize their solution to include a parent algorithm with at least two children algorithms, of at least one must have a mathematical and logical concept (totally doable).

Not sure if any of your students will be scouring the internet for solutions, so if you’d like, send me a PM (personal message) through this forum and I’ll send you solutions.


#5

This is a fantastic idea! Thanks so much for sharing. I too will plan to implement this next year!


#6

I think it would be great if theses kinds of ‘stretch challenges’ could be added to the curriculum. More open ended and less hand holding.


#7

I think there’s actually several bubbles in the programming lessons that I would consider great challenges for my students and also don’t “give away” the code or give too many hints (often some of the later bubbles in each lesson). I just might not have used them in the same way as these practice problems I made since the code.org ones aren’t standalone (instead are one in a series of linked bubbles) so I tend not to pick them out as much.

I think giving my students these separate problems helps them and me break from the lazy/complacent habits/routines we’ve developed when I just let them loose on the bubbles. I don’t closely monitor when many students encounter the bubbles that are good “stretch challenges”, and instead they get away with just clicking “continue” when obviously not solving the problem, or they incorrectly but genuinely think they solved the problem and click “continue”.

In other words, I think there are several “stretch challenge” opportunities built into the curriculum, but I would need to change my current approach and build in clearer expectations and more accountability in order to get more value out of them.


#8

Thank you so much for this. I think I will incorporate it into my Discoveries final exam!