Can you create your own 2D shape using Scratch?
What do you notice about teaching external angles as a byproduct to this process?
Post your ideas and shared project below...
I have been able to make 2D Shapes such as triangles and squares using Scratch. However, I am still finding it hard to make a right angle triangle. Will keep trying! Through practicing and my experience so far, I noticed that one would need to teach their students about external angles and and what effects different angles will have on making shapes in Scratch.
This is a triangle that I made:
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I love unplugged activities like this. Using masking tape - tape the shape on the floor and ask students to walk the perimeter. How many degrees must your body turn to draw a 60 degree angle?
My Triangle: Make a Right Angle Triangle on Scratch
Students have lots of opportunities to explore internal and external angles. The total angles of 180 degrees in a triangle could then be used to explore external angles. I have to admit that I had lots of trial and error to find out the correct angles and length of the sides. This activity reminds me of using geoboards to create 2-D shapes.
The Turtle Geometry chapter by Papert was a difficult read for me. At times, I fully understood was I was reading and related this to the connections that my K friends would make. I see the importance of walking the path ourselves as we program. My students and I need these trial runs in order to orient ourselves in the planning of the desired shape or movements on the grid either imaginary or visual. But some of the terminology was confusing and I will have to continue to re-read as I gain more confidence and experience with coding. I have seen Ozobots and see the value of having these in the classroom to practice these skills in a meaningful way. I do love that children will get more practice with “debugging” and learn the value of learning for their mistakes. This is an important lesson that we explore each day in our classroom and is encouraged for our families as well.
I got better at making the square, rectangle and it took some practice making the triangle. Mine were more like irregular open-ended shapes but this was a learning curve for me. Oh yes, I actually made curves by accident too! The external angles on the right-angle triangle were easier to visualize. But I realized that if you extended the lines for the points of the 2 triangles that the new angle that it formed seemed to be the same? I think some of my students would make this same observation. I can also see how exploring with geoboards would help consolidate some of the new learning over time.
Bonus marks for the quacking! :-)
Your summary sounds like a great recount! I love how we can blur the subject lines i.e.: Not Math or LA but can you write a summary / recount of the steps you did to draw the triangle? Very rich!
I missed the right triangle part, and made some other shapes first similar to the video but using different shapes and playing with messages and sound. Then I did the right triangle, which was actually pretty quick.
I loved the reading, and was VERY happy to see the online version of this book since it has been on my "TBR" list for a while. I think he makes some excellent points, particularly about spatial concepts and the concept of relative direction. How many of us need to rotate a map in order to figure out where we are in relation to the maps compass rose? Turtle logo helps to put these concepts into the hands of young learners in a practical way that they can physically act out and experiment with. I also like the potential for building a positive mathematical mindset from very early on in which suprise/unexpected results become interesting challenges to learn more about.
The idea of chunking the work and breaking it down into smaller components comes up in this article as part of Polya's problem solving model. This is another "good habit" that naturally comes out of early coding practice.
I really enjoyed the reading and experimenting in this module!
Since I don't have an account set up at the moment, I am attaching the files I've downloaded. I hope that is OK!
...I would be one of those people who turn the map to face the direction we are driving...drives my husband nuts...but we haven't got lost yet!
I,too, enjoyed the chapter. Even though some of it as a bit "greek" to me, I think I might like to read more. He certainly makes a lot of sense in his approach to education.
His approach to education is probably the most fascinating part to me especially since this book was written in 1980. If I didn't know that, it would easily pass as a artifact of today!
What do you notice about teaching external angles as a byproduct to this process?
Understanding the external angles teaches students about a point in space. Where this point is and what is around it. It leads to a better understanding of what makes a shape a shape. It begins to develop (hopefully) student inquiry into structures, fitting them together, what works/doesn't and how to challenge conventional building design. Students can take this knowledge and develop and defend shapes/structures according to their understanding of angles. Allowing the students to develop "thinking like a turtle" skills is one of the coolest things I've learned in the past year. Definitely going to implement this into my classroom come the fall.
I remember working with the TURTLE when I was in elementary school. However, that phase didn't last long. Imagine where our coding would be IF it would have continued. Wow, I would have been a coding genius.
Now, I am anxious to split this geometry form into small tasks.
1- ask the students to build a square.
2-build a rectangle
3 - build a triangle (start with just saying triangle, then rectanble triangle) : talk about complementary / supplementary angles
4 - pentagon, hexagon or other shape
5- build a picture (house, car, whatever they want)
6 ARTS: create a mosaic (add color, shapes, etc.
7. LA: create a story
I see lots of trial and error, but in all this, if you question the students, they will need to communicate their work/steps. This should bring good discussions and learning. You may want to ask to find different ways to do the same task...therefore, finding another path, another coding pattern, etc. This will bring some critical thinking / enquiry.
Next week, I will explore and play with scratch and am very anxious to do so.
Although I do not teach math and do want to use this program in other ways, I do find such exercises helpful.
What I really liked about this tutorial is that the variables for the different shapes were visible. When comparing squares and rectangles, along with equilateral and right angle triangles the same codes could be used. Learners can easily code and understand the differences and similarities by tweaking the angle and the steps. When I was attempting to create my right angle triangle I duplicated the steps of the first triangle, knowing that some changing of variables needed to occur. Depending on where I wanted to create the right angle I knew that only one variable needed to change. After a few (ok maybe more) attempts I did it! As I was creating and debugging the codes for my polygons I did notice the importance of understanding external angles. Teaching in the junior grades we measure and acknowledge the importance of internal angles, external was not as essential. Students will begin to understand how important external angles are to properties of shapes when exploring with the different variables (steps and angles). I love the way scratch can be used to create and describe properties of shapes.
Hopefully this works!
I think you might have linked a version of your project that wasn't finished yet - and I am so glad you did! It was really neat to have the chance to peek at the program you were writing and see what parts weren't finished yet. I noticed that you had blocks of code off to the side, like you were still thinking about them....I did that in my program, too!
Asking students to look at others' codes and predict whether or not they'd work, and why, might also be a really effective way to explore properties of angles and shapes. It kind of reminds me of those "will this net, when folded, make..." questions, but for me, the code is much more engaging....more like a language, I guess.
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After playing around with 2d shapes for awhile, I decided to approach my project a bit differently.
Using Brian's tutorial as a base, I thought about how I might introduce a similar activity to primary students who are just beginning to investigate attributes of shapes. I purposely made my square much smaller than my rectangle, as size tends to be an attribute that students get 'stuck' on. When asked to remix, perhaps in a small group guided lesson, my idea was to push the students beyond that thinking by fiddling with side length and drawing attention to the visual similarities in the coding for both rectangle and square. I think that the colour-coded blocks in Scratch provide visual support for noticing patterns, which would also be helpful.
I also played with the triangles, and I found myself sketching what I wanted to do to help me better visualize the external angles. Coding triangles with Scratch might be a really effective way to help students visualize and internalize the math behind a triangle, and lead to a better understanding of why the angles work as they do.
I find that using Scratch to teach 2D shapes also allows you to add computer programing jargon. When students are creating squares they can create a function which allows them to call this program over and over again. However, when you ask them to create a rectangle or a triangle, then they would have to alter that function. Their understanding of the shape will determine what areas of the function they change. You can also use this to teach loops and patterns in shapes. Once the students understand how this works then they easily see the relationship between all of the various shapes and programs.
I did not use Scratch for this type of activity with my students. I used some of the lessons from CODE.org. When the students move through the different levels in the teacher assigned classes, they are able to build these skills upon each other as they explore angle relation to shape as well as size length to shape.