Class 3: March 21, 2008

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We held our 3rd class on March 21, 2008. A lot of students didn't come due to their spring break.

This chapter's was about introducing the concept of variables. We tried to do this in an innovative way by using MadLibs. We wrote a function called variables, which allows the user to enter specific words into variables creating a story whose outline was built in. For example,

One day, the animal1 and the animal2 decided to race to the place_name. The animal1 decided to go the adjective1 way while animal2 decided to go the adjective2 way. On the way, the animal1 verb1_past under a noun1. Meanwhile, the animal2 was winning. Soon, the animal2 's part_of_body got tangled with a noun2 and it fell. The animal1 caught up with the animal2 and verb2_past that the animal2 was in trouble. So, the animal1 untangled the animal2 's part_of_body and noun2. They both went to the place_name and won together!

Here, the students enter any appropriate word for the bolded variable names, thus storing a word in a variable. The function then puts the story together and speaks it.

We started the class doing this story as a group. Although they seemed to enjoy it, but when we moved on to store numbers as variables, some were not able to understand the connection.

We connected this to the previous class, where they made a square by entering instructions one at a time into the interactive IDLE window. This time they saved their functions in a file and ran it. In fact, this was the most favorite part of the class for the students, followed closely by playing MadLibs and making the robot speak.

We did not get through the whole chapter - we need to estimate better how long each class will take. Next class, we need to go over how the robot takes photos.

We have started giving the students surveys to fill out at the end of every class so that we can understand their likes and dislikes specific to each class.

Class 3 Survey Results:
1. most favorite part of class:
a. learning how to run lots of commands together from a file (6/11)
b. playing MadLibs; making the robot speak (5/11)

2. least favorite part of class
a. I liked everything we did in class today (8/11)
b. learning about variables, playing MadLibs (2/11)

3. did you like your robot today
a. yes (6/11)
b. ok (3/11)
c. no (2/11)

4. why?
some of the students were frustrated with the robot's inability to move straight

5. most students (9/11) were excited to come back next week


Common errors
- finding the connection between madlibs and variables
- forgetting to import myro

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