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11 students, 9-12th Grades with little experience in CS.
U3L13 - Complex Conditionals
This was another lesson students just needed more processing (thinking) time. Even in high school, the idea of true/false and simple logic escapes them if they aren’t directly in that mindset (which is a shift that needs to happen in younger and younger grades) so the “keyWentUp()”, “keyWentDown()” and other blocks trip students up that it is a true/false that they can program events to happen afterwards. I found that once students had some time with it, they could successfully use it as a conditional, but their first thought wasn’t true/false and then something happened. This again is a product of my aggressive and quick curriculum along with block scheduling.
The bees puzzles tripped students up, but in a good way as a summative project of a bunch of different skills. I pushed the grid to evaluate where the mouse was (thanks again for the grid feature) and then asked students how do we know where our mouse is… how can that help us?
Overall, I think this is a generational thing that students have grown up with smartphones and tablets which they don’t think about how it works, this again is something that needs to be taught at younger and younger ages, but a common discussion I had with students was: “Where is the flower? How does the computer know that? Where is your mouse? How does the computer know that?”
I had taught similar lessons in Processing which would change the entire background screen (with text) if the player moved their mouse to one side verses the other - which seems like its a slightly easier version of this - maybe an additional puzzle to affect a BIG change then this puzzle for a more complex (x and Y values) change.
The other issues was the difference between keyDown and keyWentDown (as a singular instance), that was more just paying closer attention to the blocks and would be something I would suggest to teachers that they keep in mind and drive the phrasing of the blocks home (and it’s on purpose for the ‘Complex Conditionals’ students are now working with).
Thanks for the detailed feedback @bradleywellsashley. I think the questioning you suggested in the post is really helpful. It’s the process we hope students go through on their own but it will probably take saying it out loud a bunch before they just think it.