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Awesome Moment Blog Instructors Programming Thoughts about Class

Computational Thinking, Team Building, Paper Towers, and Scratch

Today’s class was a lot of fun.  I can tell everyone enjoyed themselves.  There were a few moments where the instructor role fell on me like a spotlight – and it was warm and calming.  I enjoyed it.

Matthew & Ke'von - Building their paper tower

We focused on computational thinking and how its different from day to day thoughts and activities.  We then had a 20 minute team building exercise where teams were given 5 full pieces of newspaper and a piece of tape the size of the length of Mr. Marco’s arm (it was going to be my arm initially so I’m sure everyone appreciated that change) and expected to build a tall paper tower.  The tower had to be as tall as possible and had to stand on its own for more than 10 seconds.  *This is one of my favorite activities and I usually have every student of mine (no matter which program) give it a try.  Making the paper towers stand on their own was no problem for most teams.  The tallest was almost 6 feet and all teams had interesting designs and approaches.

We then talked about how this exercise related to the software development life cycle phases – requirements, analysis, design, implement, and test.  All and all I think it was a pretty intriguing exercise.  Roi and Niko ended up with the tallest tower but I think everyone got a lot out of the exercise.

Scratch was the next subject.  Up until now, most students thought Scratch was for younger kids.  Well, today we went played and analyzed a game built with Scratch (Nowhere 2 – The Void) that a friend of mine, Robert Holder, showed me.  I thought it would be a perfect demonstration of Scratch’s potential and get students engaged once again.  I think it worked.

Overall, brainstorming, team building, creativity, and patience are key components to any software development project (among other things).  I’m sure students got that today.

The laptops have arrived (finally) and will be configured and ready for Thursday’s class.  More Scratch – here we come!

Click here to view the flickr photostream from today’s class.