T Nation

Developing Apps for my Students


#1

I'm teaching computer programming as part of my new job. There's four age groups (K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8). I already have a rough draft of the curriculum written up. Right now I'm brainstorming for ideas of what I could build in order to enrich their learning experience. I figured why not inquire here for a higher yield.


#2

I’m a bit confused…

Are you teaching computer programming to grade-school and middle-school kids? Gifted and talented, I take it?

Or are you looking for ideas for general learning apps geared towards all students in those age groups?


#3

I might have a book or two around here that I can rummage through for ideas, but a few I remember when I was first learning as a kid.

Hi/Low (guess a number 1 through 100, then Too High, Too Low)
Hangman
Flashcards (could be of anything, but multiple choice makes it easier)
Basic card games; War and Crazy Eights are fairly straightforward
Simple conversion apps… Fahrenheit to Celsius, or Kilos to Pounds


#4

[quote]twojarslave wrote:
I’m a bit confused…

Are you teaching computer programming to grade-school and middle-school kids? Gifted and talented, I take it?

Or are you looking for ideas for general learning apps geared towards all students in those age groups?

[/quote]
The former. I’m looking to develop my own applications, so that they are specific to the needs of the students. Whatever I develop will only be a supplemental learning tool and not the core of the curriculum. This is just an invitation to throw ideas out there.


#5

[quote]LoRez wrote:
I might have a book or two around here that I can rummage through for ideas, but a few I remember when I was first learning as a kid.

Hi/Low (guess a number 1 through 100, then Too High, Too Low)
Hangman
Flashcards (could be of anything, but multiple choice makes it easier)
Basic card games; War and Crazy Eights are fairly straightforward
Simple conversion apps… Fahrenheit to Celsius, or Kilos to Pounds[/quote]
Thanks. I’m interested to see what else you come up with.


#6

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]twojarslave wrote:
I’m a bit confused…

Are you teaching computer programming to grade-school and middle-school kids? Gifted and talented, I take it?

Or are you looking for ideas for general learning apps geared towards all students in those age groups?

[/quote]
The former. I’m looking to develop my own applications, so that they are specific to the needs of the students. Whatever I develop will only be a supplemental learning tool and not the core of the curriculum. This is just an invitation to throw ideas out there.[/quote]

Well that’s impressive material to be tackling at that age. I’m only superficially involved with programming, so I’m afraid I can’t be of much help.

Now I feel dumb. Good luck dude!


#7

Spar4tee - have you seen this?


#8

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Spar4tee - have you seen this?

[/quote]
Hey, Steely. I have. That’s part of the curriculum for the 4th and 5th graders. I was thinking more along the lines of applications I can build myself to give them more variety without deviating from the objective. Something in house more or less.


#9

[quote]twojarslave wrote:

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]twojarslave wrote:
I’m a bit confused…

Are you teaching computer programming to grade-school and middle-school kids? Gifted and talented, I take it?

Or are you looking for ideas for general learning apps geared towards all students in those age groups?

[/quote]
The former. I’m looking to develop my own applications, so that they are specific to the needs of the students. Whatever I develop will only be a supplemental learning tool and not the core of the curriculum. This is just an invitation to throw ideas out there.[/quote]

Well that’s impressive material to be tackling at that age. I’m only superficially involved with programming, so I’m afraid I can’t be of much help.

Now I feel dumb. Good luck dude!

[/quote]
No reason to feel dumb. Most of the younger kids are just using GUI platforms making stuff that you would expect a kid to make. There’s one kid that’s working on Python. The older kids are getting some exposure to front end web development. Nobody’s writing cloud architectures or preprocessor code lol.

Like I said. I’m not looking for instruction tools. Just ideas for cool and useful things to make for them.


#10

The apps that you want to build – Do you want them to be geared toward learning to program, think logically, etc? What is the objective of the apps?

Can you post a high level view of the curriculum to get an idea of what apps might fit where?

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Spar4tee - have you seen this?

[/quote]
Hey, Steely. I have. That’s part of the curriculum for the 4th and 5th graders. I was thinking more along the lines of applications I can build myself to give them more variety without deviating from the objective. Something in house more or less.[/quote]


#11

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
The apps that you want to build – Do you want them to be geared toward learning to program, think logically, etc? What is the objective of the apps?

Can you post a high level view of the curriculum to get an idea of what apps might fit where?

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Spar4tee - have you seen this?

[/quote]
Hey, Steely. I have. That’s part of the curriculum for the 4th and 5th graders. I was thinking more along the lines of applications I can build myself to give them more variety without deviating from the objective. Something in house more or less.[/quote]
[/quote]
Ideally, I’d love to make something that they would replicate through coaching.

I can post the curriculum when I’m home.


#12

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
The apps that you want to build – Do you want them to be geared toward learning to program, think logically, etc? What is the objective of the apps?

Can you post a high level view of the curriculum to get an idea of what apps might fit where?

[quote]spar4tee wrote:

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Spar4tee - have you seen this?

[/quote]
Hey, Steely. I have. That’s part of the curriculum for the 4th and 5th graders. I was thinking more along the lines of applications I can build myself to give them more variety without deviating from the objective. Something in house more or less.[/quote]
[/quote]
Ideally, I’d love to make something that they would replicate through coaching.

I can post the curriculum when I’m home.[/quote]

I would develop a game. Something to get their attention. As they play they may ask to see how things work.


#13

Hey! I might be useful here! This is a good website for programming practice problems. They get tough pretty quick but worth looking at. Within the first ten problems you’re covering staple programming practice stuff like arrays, functions, loops, and optimizing an algorithm (order of n^2 vs order of n operations nomsayin) and of course how to find errors when you make them. All solutions are available online in various blogs.

https://projecteuler.net

Also, this Java class at my high school gave us something to understand those main OOP concepts (polymorphism, encapsulation). It was called Grid World, basically a grid with creatures and things of different types on it.

So it had the abstract class GridWorld, and you use it to construct an object of type Grid(int width, int height) you dig? and you had an abstract class Critter, which had other classes below it like Bug, Lizard, stuff like that.

And for example objects of type Bug would run around in squares of width determined by the integer you put in the constructor like: Bug myBug = new Bug(5) or w.e.

There was some other things to it, like you could say bug.getRight() to return the object that was to the right of the bug on the grid, and in general it was a really good way to visually understand the high level concepts that OOP is based on.

Worst case have them dress up as numbers and act out sorting algorithms:D


#14

Wow, very cool. I’d love to hear more about the job and I’m looking forward to seeing your curriculum. Are you looking for programming ideas (not my forte) or for educational ideas to build in (possibly my forte)?

Because what I’d love to see would be games to do with pro-social behavior.


#15

It seems all my early programming books are still packed away, so I don’t have anything to reference. I didn’t have a whole lot of luck searching through Google Books either.

Sorry about that.

When I was learning, as a kid, the public libraries and a few of the school libraries had a number of programming books targeted toward kids. Pretty much any of the old BASIC or BASIC-A or GW-BASIC books are going to be pretty good for ideas, if you can find them. There were also a couple PASCAL books that had some fun stuff (which I ported to BASIC), but they generally targeted a more “serious” adult audience rather than the fun stuff in the BASIC books. Some libraries may still carry these books… most were mid-80s, early-90s publishing dates.


#16

Hmmmm I see. I found out today that the program at this school in particular ends this month, so I’m not going to bother.


#17

Bummer!

I was going to suggest a game of creatures that had a baseline and were customizable and programmable. So each kid could have their own basic creature, mod it with some scripting (maybe you provide them and they can muck around with parameters and arguments) and the creatures interact or battle! in a social app.


#18

[quote]debraD wrote:
Bummer!

I was going to suggest a game of creatures that had a baseline and were customizable and programmable. So each kid could have their own basic creature, mod it with some scripting (maybe you provide them and they can muck around with parameters and arguments) and the creatures interact or battle! in a social app.

[/quote]
That sounds pretty awesome.


#19

This might be of interest