We have been having fun learning the basics of programming in scratch with lots of fun little projects.
Here is the alveyworld studio where we are putting all our best stuff: http://scratch.mit.edu/studios/620382/
Today we built towers for Donald Trump with legos. We tried to build them as efficiently as possible. Some of the groups took 39 weeks to build the tower and some were more efficient. One group only took 6 weeks.
We also looked at algorithms for searching and finding a word in the dictionary. First we tried to start at the beginning at turn each page until we found the word. This is a Linear Search, and it wasn't the most effect method, it took 700 page turns to find the word Walrus. If we divided the book in half each time we could find any word in a 1500 page dictionary in 6 or 7 page turns. That is what we call a Binary Search, where we cut the problem in half each time. That was much more efficient.
But we also learned that the Binary Search only works when the data is sorted, so sometimes you are stuck with the Linear Search.
How many different applications can you think of for the Binary Search where we solve the problem by cutting the problem in half each time?
Today we learned how to count in binary using cards with dots on them.
Today we had a problem to solve. We needed to design a new cornrow hair style for Lebron James for his first game as a new Cleveland Cavalier. But we first had to study about what cornrows are and the historical significance of the culture of cornrows and how to apply the patterns. We found that cornrows are rich with symbolism and the origins of cornrow hair styles go deep into African culture. (read about it here: http://csdt.rpi.edu/african/CORNROW_CURVES/culture/african.origins.htm)
We used the software from http://csdt.rpi.edu/african/CORNROW_CURVES/cornrow_software/cornrow_software.html
to plan and implement our designs for Lebron's new hair style. Here is one example: