Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grandadscience Loves to Program!

   Did you know that grandadscience also blogs about computer programming or, as it's now called, coding?
  Since the introduction in the 1980s of the Apple IIe, powered by the BASIC programming language, I have had a strong interest in helping learners of any age learn the basic fundamentals of computer programming .
   I have taught learners to program in BASIC, Logo, Starlogo, the Texas Instruments version of BASIC, and now, I'm using Scratch, a new language designed for beginners (and skilled coders too). To  understand the attraction of Scratch as a coding language, watch this short video from the producers of Scratch.

   Scratch is a product of the Multimedia Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Coding in Scratch is a very popular activity with over five million Scratch programs (called projects) uploaded to the Scratch community web site. To the best of my knowledge, Scratch is by far, the largest educational online community anywhere in the world. To learn more about Scratch, and hopefully join the throng, click on this link.
   You can visit my Scratch programming blog by clicking on this link.
www.scratch-blog.com
   My posts represent math and science projects that I programmed because I wanted to explore the topic that forms the core of the program and are too advanced for beginners but I have posted a number of projects designed for the beginner.
  For example,  I have written three Getting Started with Scratch  documents.
   The first document guides the reader through the steps of building a script (program) that draws a square with a side length of 100 steps. This introduces the blocks menu and the mechanics of connecting blocks together to build a script.  Think of this level as the arithmetic level.
   The second document describes how to create variables, sliders, and how to set the minimum and maximum values in a slider. The size of the square is now under variable control. Think of this level as the algebraic level.
  The third document helps the reader build a script that will draw any regular polygon. In a regular polygon the side lengths are equal. A slider controls the number of sides and again, the side length is controlled by a slider. 
   The relationship between the number of sides and the turn angle for a regular polygon of n sides requires a bit of mathematical analysis but how to get to the relationship is described in the document. Think of this level as the generalized algebraic level.
   You may request any or all of these documents—in PDF format— by sending an email to: grandadscience@gmail.com.           
            Getting Started with Scratch – Part 1
            Getting Started with Scratch – Part 2
            Getting Started with Scratch – Part 3

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