Using 5.10 as a full practice for the Create PT

I’m planning on having students create a video and answer all the Create PT questions for this lesson. Has anyone else done this? Any advice/gotcha’s?


The thing my students are missing is the algorithms part. They have to describe how two or more algorithms go into making a new algorithm. I like the idea of doing this for the ColorSleuth app though since the development process touches on everything that should be included on the Create!

Also, I had students say a function was an abstraction, but I wanted to make sure students focused more on how USING functions was an example of abstraction. If we decided not to define any functions in this code, how would our code be different? That’s the question I wanted them to focus on more.

Good idea!

I deliberately used this lesson as a whole group demo. I even locked the other stages so for one block period everyone worked on this stage. I then had them locate code appropriate for 2C and 2D from the code for a basic version of the full game.


1 Like

@anmrobnott @cmeeks ALSO, now that I have started to grade the practice “Create” tasks, I am noticing that I should have stressed the “create functions” part of 5.10. In students programs, they are having trouble earning “full points” on the algorithms section because they need to talk about 2 or more algorithms used to make another algorithm.

The rubric says that students need to talk about using 2 or more “commonly used or new algorithms”. To me, if students make 2 functions and then use those functions in another algorithm, that would count as “new algorithms” but if students use an “if-then” statement inside an algorithm, can that if-then count as one of their 2 “commonly used” algorithms? I actually reached out to the college board about this and got referred back to the rubric (unhelpful). NOTE: the prompt itself doesn’t say anything about this “2 or more algorithms” business - so, keep that in mind!

I think the safest way to have students answer this is to very intentionally divide all of their code into mini-algorithms, much like the “draw a digital scene” code they wrote.

Right now I am regretting not stressing that more!

@kaitie_o_bryan @cmeeks

I spent a class period analyzing the Samples. We noticed that Sample B got rated low on 2C based on using a while loop to call a function. The commentary for Sample A was driven credit for the def beasts function which was a series of initializations followed by two calls to other functions. Sample C’s commentary was less clear to us - did it show 2 algorithms but the response was weak? We weren’t sure so we settled on making sure functions were used frequently to streamline code. I will probably make a stronger connection to the code from the Digital Scene Practice PT.

What Does an Algorithm Look like?



That’s a great observation @andrea_m_robertson1! I suppose this is a “better safe than sorry” situation here. I am starting to think students might be quite successful on the task if they do another digital scene.

It is so easy for students to get bogged down in doing a whole bunch of event handlers and thinking that they made a really complicated (and therefore “advanced”) program, but then they don’t have much to say for abstraction and algorithms.

Students seemed to get why they needed/wanted functions more in the digital scene task.

That is a great handout @andrea_m_robertson1. Did you happen to make one for the other questions also?



Here is the worksheet for abstraction: What does an Abstraction lk like?



First truth first – the curriculum team at has often sat around and actively wondered if the Digital Scene project was enough for the Create PT. It’s pretty close, right?!?!

But based on the spirit of the Create PT (v. what the rubric actually says) it felt a little shallow, especially in the “program with a purpose” dept. Also, given that many thousands of students are using this course, we actually worried about what would happen if, say 10,000 students submitted turtle drawings for the Create PT whose purpose was “personal curiosity” :).

My fast-pass, low-bar solution for algorithms was: anything with an if-statement. Boom, algorithm. Because it has conditional logic, easy to justify. For the Color Sleuth project then, you have several functions that make decisions with if-statements - the most sophisticated being the gameOver condition - and they are obviously being combined.

FWIW I think this “combining algorithms” thing is going to be tricky for EVERYONE. It’s not a programming language thing. It’s a kind-of-odd-requirement thing. In some ways I pity the exam readers who have to make these distinctions. To wit: if you write two functions that do separate parts of your program, and then write a third function that uses both of them, have you just killed two birds (algorithms and abstraction) with one stone?



Awesome discussion. Thanks for sharing those handouts @andrea_m_robertson1.
I love hearing what the curric team sits around debating!
I’m teaching this next year – this year I’m just soaking in all of the convos.
See you in Philly for teachercon!!


Fantastic idea. I did this today and my students finally got it! Thank you for the suggestion!

For my students, I did something similar to what @katie_o_bryan said - I suggested they make two separate functions that they call with a third function using some sort of control structure like an if statement. The “commonly used” algorithm part threw me. Could a commonly used algorithm be something built in like randomNumber()? I encouraged them to avoid this confusion and stick with explaining their own self-created algorithms. During my summer institute training, it was made clear that the graders will be looking to award points, not take them away. In other words, they want to look for ways to maximize scores. I hope this is true, but I think this will be pretty dicey. The rubric sure needs work.

I also wanted to do more with the Grumpy Cat exemplar sample provided by and use it as a true example, but in my mind 2C is lacking and wouldn’t get full credit with the rubric. I’m curious what others thought (found in Stage 18, “For Teachers Only”).

I think so too. It falls short on criteria 3.