Creative Computer Coding: Day 2
Before we covered new material, we did a review of the previous two days. We first started with a review by having the students draw out a pentagon house from the code listed, which was shown with the coordinates of the lines.
Today, we expanded on the previous knowledge the students learned — how to build six different shapes — and we added something we know the students will love: color! Color has been a long anticipated topic, and with color comes excitement. We introduced new functions to add to the toolbox, including background() and stroke(), to add to the color elements.
We focused on continuing what we missed from yesterday, stroke() and strokeWeight() and showed demos to be able to inscribe a shape into another shape, such as an ellipse in a square with ellipseMode(CORNER).
The goal was to teach students various ways to achieve a single goal for their Mickey Mouse drawing project. We had three Mickey Mouse levels for the students: Level One was the traditional black Mickey Mouse outline, Level Two was the Mickey Mouse ears hat, similar to the hats at Disneyland, and Level Three was the full Mickey Mouse logo with a colored bottom.
Level Three was the trickiest one, as it required ellipses and the usage of an arc — the angles would be the confusing part for the students. Once students achieved all three levels, they would be able to understand the concepts behind positioning shapes, filling in colors, and mastery of the basics of implementing shapes.
The bonus challenge for the students was to code the Color Wheel, using all the colors and different shapes integrated:
Session 1 received an additional student for the class, and I caught her up to speed with all the functions and tutorials she missed. Students understood and retained information from the previous days. We reviewed all the material for today and went through the details for implementing the 16 million+ colors available. The class enjoyed learning about the colors and instantly went to work on Mickey Mouse. I assisted a few struggling students with Level 1 and educated on how to properly position the ellipses by altering the x and y values of the ellipse() function.
We resumed our color adventures from Day 0 and educated the students on how to pick specific colors rather than randomly obtain colors from arbitrary numbers. Students were swift to understand the review material and retained information well. The class was very excited with finally understanding how to add colors. The students all worked on finishing Mickey Mouse, and many of them finished Level 3, with a few of them wrapping up Level 2. One or two students finished the Color Wheel, and all of them had fun while creating the shapes.
By now, any new students who would like to join the course might be too far behind to catch up quickly. Luckily, Sylvie was experienced with programming and was caught up to speed in no time. With the Mickey Mouse and Color Wheel programs, I got a better sense on who was struggling in the class and who were the speed demons. Having assignments with multiple levels and bonus assignments is, I believe, a great way to have students on different levels all move at their own pace. What’s great about CCC is that it’s recreational, and the students are able to learn freely at their own pace. The format of the class seems to be working great, and the students are all having fun while learning something so foreign as computer science.
Creative Computer Coding is an introductory visual programming course in Processing aimed for middle school students. This blog series is a daily reflection and review of each day of the course, and aims to be a resource for programming courses.