Monday, November 18, 2013

Moving on with Debug-its

After solving the debugging challenges available on Scratch, we were ready for our next challenge.  This time, my students were now 'Scratch' programmers receiving a 'job' assignment in the form of a project.  Instead of solving others' debug-its, they were now going to create their own debug-challenges based on a set of criteria and constraints.

"I feel that when you're given constraints, it kind of makes your mind think better because it means you can't just make it any kind of debug-it, but a specific type of debug-it.  They're harder when you have constraints because you have to think of a way that you'd be able to make it do that.  For example, Mrs.Mak gave me an assignment to create a 'list' on Scratch and each item disappearing when the cat did the exercise.  And there were lots of things that I could have done, but it wouldn't have exactly met the constraints.  So I had to get every last block correct to meet the constraints."

"When you're making debug-its with constraints, it's different from just fixing someone else's because you have to make a program that works, then remove something that makes it work, then after that, you have a program that almost works, but something small that keeps it from working.  Making it, removing something that is important, but really little, and then finish.  What I do is just look at a part and I think it's like a stack of bricks.  If I take one out, then it falls.  Then I run the program to make sure that it's a real debug-it...that there is something that keeps it from working."

"If I make a debug-it with my own ideas, then I don't have to think about any constraints...How about I just make ice-cream?  But if I have constraints, then I have to figure out how to make it using only the things she gives me.  It's harder if you're assigned one because you have to do one thing.  You can't just have an idea that you know how to do.  But if you're assigned one, you have to do the idea you're assigned.  And if you don't know how to do it, you have to figure it out."

Here is our class debugging studio on Scratch Ed.  It's called Mak's Debuggers, but I just got a proposal from a student to rename it "Mak's Exterminators."


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