Week 2 Unit 1

After reading the introduction to An Introduction to Computational Thinking Through Art, Music, and Games I decided to go on to read Chapter 3 - Arcade Games. I chose this chapter because I thought creating a game using Snap! would be a fun challenge especially since I've never used the program Snap! before. First impressions of the software: I was very surprised how similar to Scratch Snap! was. I've used Scratch quite a bit in the past and found Snap! very similar but different enough that it took a little getting use to. (I still haven't figured out how to fully reset my program oddly enough)

            Both Scratch and Snap! are block based programs that allow users to create programs, games, and so much more by programing and designing using block code. One major difference between Snap! and Scratch is Snap! allows you to create original blocks which is a really powerful tool. Being able to create your own blocks allows you to take functions you've created and condense them into a new block. This can be compared to a "Function" in programing language. I really enjoyed that the creator of Snap! created this feature as an omage to Paper's Turtle game. " Papert’s book, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas, describes the way in which subjects such as mathematics can be introduced through turtle graphics: “The idea of programming is introduced through the metaphor of teaching the Turtle a new word. This is simply done, and children often begin their programming experience by programming the turtle to respond to new commands invented by the child ...” The family of programming languages that includes Logo, Scratch, and Snap! was designed for children to learn by adding their own extensions to the programming language."  (Introduction to Computational Thinking Through Art, Music, and Games G. Bull, J. Garofalo, N. Nguyen  pg 9)

            Creating the Pong game was a blast, and something I'd never created before. Because Snap! and Scratch are so similar I can say with confidence utilizing either of these programs in the classroom will be a great success regardless of what you teach. Whether it putting a story together using sprites, backgrounds, and sounds, or animating an equation for math or even creating a program, or game. Both Snap! and Scratch offer students the opportunity to utilizing computational thinking skills so build a project (whatever it is).

            Last month for Hour of Code I incorporated Scratch into an assignment for my music technology classes. I started with a quick tutorial for my students to get familiar with Scratch (most had experience with it from in their computer class) Once everyone understood the basic functions of the program I asked everyone to create a small scene in scratch and asked them to utilizing a song they've created in a previous assignment. My student’s reaction was " I can import one of my original songs into Scratch?!" They were blown away that they could take something they've created in class and apply it to the short story or scene they created in scratch. Block programs like Scratch & Snap! are vital to cultivating computational thinking in students. Utilizing blocks, commands and order help foster the fundamentals that are required for computational problem solvers.

    • Kendall Stevenson
      Kendall Stevenson

      reset the project? I just save the project then reopen it when I open snap.

      • Gerald Ardito
        Gerald Ardito

        Anthony,

        It is good to read about your experience using SNAP. It was originally developed, I believe, as an alternative to Scratch, and one of its key features was, as you said, that it allowed you to create your own bricks. In addition to being a timesaver, it also allowed the teacher or student to have an authentic experience of subroutines, which was (at that time) not really available in Scratch. Scratch now offers this functionality.

        I loved hearing about the work you did with your students. And I can only imagine their excitement at being able to import their own music. Can you share more about the details about what you and then did? Do you have any examples of the work they did to share with us?