Pilot - U3L09 - Sprite Movement


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11 students, 9-12th Grades with little experience in CS.

U3L09 - Sprite Movement

This was a challenging concept at the beginning, again because my students - on a block schedule - had drawing sprites, draw loop and then changing the variable inside of the draw loop within a few days and that tripped some of them up. *** I also have an aggressive schedule to finish Unit 3 by the end of the year for the Final Project to be the Final in the class ***
I wish I was able to give the students more time to work with these concepts, or learn a concept one day, sleep on it, then come back and try it again/practice. So that’s something to keep in mind if you have block scheduling…
What really tripped them up was the idea of var = var + 1, they kept wanting to do just “var + 1”, and a few had experience in other classes with var++, but the initial idea of having to say the variable, then add one to the existing variable felt like extra steps to the students.
With these challenging lessons, the follow class I walk through all of the puzzles at the beginning of class so students can ask question, see solutions and not fall too far behind.
What helped was a few students were already on velocity (yes, I have a few highly motivated students) that understood and were able to help those around them.
For this lesson it was helpful to use the “watcher” and (mostly) the console.log because then students saw the output in the console of the draw loop, as they are working within the new concept.
Overall, a few of the students just needed more time to understand the concepts - and they got it after some practice, but because of my schedule I didn’t have a lot of time to play with - will keep in mind for the future.


It sounds like this lesson is a shift in difficulty for many classes. I’m wondering if you have thoughts on how to better get across the var x = x + 1 pattern. The edits to lesson 8 were primarily focused on prepping students for that pattern, but if it’s not translating between the unplugged and the plugged maybe we need to rethink things a bit.


I think it just a difficult subject/concept to grasp. The idea of using the console.log to see changes through each step of the draw loop is helpful, which helped me as I was learning about the loop and seeing the changes on each pass.
For my high schoolers I was able to explain and had multiple variables that increased by 1, 2, 5, 10 each pass - but I’m unsure about getting through to 6th/7th graders. Maybe a “step through” feature slowing down the loop and having a character grow each time to see physical-ness? Again, just tossing stuff out there because I don’t have day to day experience with younger grades.


Thanks @bradleywellsashley I think some day we would love to have the step feature like we do in App Lab. There are some special things with the draw loop that make that really hard but it is definitely a great idea!