[Squeakland] Suggestions for pedagogical examples in Squeak?

RATZEL, MARSHA MRATZEL at bv229.k12.ks.us
Tue Feb 17 06:06:53 PST 2004

I have no idea if what I'm doing with my class is an answer to your question but I will offer it....we used it because it seemed like the next step and not all of our students (especially our girls wanted to do things like girls wanted to stay in the realm of cars).  Additionally Kansas has been buried under snow recently and our students have had many days off of school with snow days.  So my teacher partner and I chose the topic of WinterWonder Land.
In it, students had to construct a WinterWonderLand where there was a sledder, a shivering snowman, the blowing trees and other things that they had observed outside during their days off.  This was their first project in Squeak after the tutorials on the Squeakland site.  And it was quite challenging for them.  We had to keep emphasizing that it wasn't an art project, although it was OK to make things look as nice as possible.  And as always, I found myself in way over my head in terms of needing to know more about "how to make" objects take on characteristics than I knew how to do.  So the kids and I plugged away...just experimenting and sharing with each other during what I call carpet chats.  Everyday I open class with these carpet chats where we tell each other what we'd discovered the previous day because we sort of feel like lost explorers---the one for all and all for one like of thing, you know.
I've been accused over and over again in my district for doing Squeak that it is too difficult for teachers.  Not kids mind you.  But teachers.  My district administration is not supportive because they think it's too much to ask teachers to be lost and admit it to the kids and show our ignorance of being lost on a daily basis.  I don't know how much longer they'll let me keep teaching it to my 7th graders, but I'm going to continue for as long as possible.  I'm now working with the head of the math department on the sligh to create a summer workshop....it just seems to me that I understand enough that I could help them do some neat things when they teach the "Moving Straight Ahead" module of the Connected Math Program module.  This seems like a perfect language and integrated piece of technology for helping kids to "get" linear equations.  They could experiment and see the what "if"s of all that.  (I taught math and science before becomeing the computer teacher).
I think the real testimony is that almost a quarter of my 7th grade students of both genders have downloaded Squeak for use at home.  They come flying into my class and tell me something they'v learned at HOME.  I wish there was more documentation that I could understand or that was organized.  But bit by bit, I discover it and then furiously try and teach it to myself through the generiosity of the people on this list and elsewhere.  
Thank you everyone and I hope my WinterWonder Land project might help you.  I can send examples if you'd like of student work, with their permission of course.

	-----Original Message----- 
	From: Richard Borge [mailto:richared at ifi.uio.no] 
	Sent: Mon 2/16/2004 2:21 AM 
	To: squeakland at squeakland.org 
	Subject: [Squeakland] Suggestions for pedagogical examples in Squeak?

	Hello all.
	If any of you have any helpfull information about my questions below, I
	will be very
	I recently finished my Masters thesis - called "Learning OOP using
	Graphical Programming
	environments - An Experimental study" - at the University of Oslo. I now
	work as a
	researcher in the COOL (Comprehensive Object-Oriented Learning) project
	here in Oslo.
	Information about the COOL project can be found on
	In this project we are trying to explore different methods for teaching OOP
	by looking
	at what others have done and experimenting ourselves. My job is conducting
	experiments and gathering as much data as possible. We are currently trying
	to set
	up new experiments and one of them will be attempted on children of 11-12
	years old.
	The reason for selecting this age group is because of having to use an
	english tool.
	We are aiming a three days experiment where we will try to teach the
	children basic
	Object Oriented concepts. We have decided not to focus on code as we feel
	there is
	a risk this can get boring. Instead we are focusing on general OO
	understanding and
	the use of a graphical tool therefore seems like the way to go. Right now
	we are
	considering Squeak and Alice.
	I finally come to the reason I write this post: I am looking for some good
	off activities in Squeak to present to our group of subjects. Something
	that is
	educational and fun. The hard part will be finding activities that will be
	fun and
	interesting. I have been looking at the Internet for some examples and I
	have found a
	few good ones. I really liked the Race car example as it captures good
	points about OO:
	That there are multiple ojects in one system that have certain
	characteristics and that
	one object (the steering wheel) can affect the other object (the car). If
	we in addition
	make a race track and race conditions and get the students to race their
	cars, we are
	really talking fun and educational at the same time! But I would like more
	than just this one, something that can appeal to people who don't like cars
	and also
	examples that illustrate other aspects of OO. Here are a few suggestions to
	points we
	feel the pupils should be introduced to. There may be too many here and I
	may have
	forgotten some and a couple may not be very good, but here goes:
	1. A computer program consists of many objects.
	2. An object is an "independent" chunk of information.
	3. Objects can affect each other and change each others behavior.
	4. We have different types of objects.
	5. We can program the objects to a certain behavior.
	6. Simple pseudo code.
	7. Not all objects need to contain all sort of information, It is important
	to find
	    relevant information to go into an object (A steering wheel, doesn't
	need the color
	    of the car, for instance).
	8. How to make a model of a larger computer system. To make drawings of
	what we need.
	If any of you know of any good examples on the Net where it is possible to
	get some
	inspiration, I would be very gratefull. Or if you have examples you have
	used in your
	classes, that would also be great. I am not asking for complete examples,
	but suggestions
	of topics and such. I have been tossing a few ideas around but more input
	would be very
	Thank you for your time, it was a long post.
	Best regards,
	Richard Borge.
	Cand.scient. Department of Informatics, University of Oslo
	Squeakland mailing list
	Squeakland at squeakland.org

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