## Animation and Integer Operations

11 Sep

For anyone who missed it, I’m experimenting with adding some computer-based math in my seventh-grade pre-algebra curriculum.  I see value in having students write computer programs to apply math concepts they learn in class, and to use computer programming as a creative and artistic medium using mathematics!

I have a sample program here which has the basics of animation, but also has some flaws.  🙂  Part of the joy of programming comes from pointing out those flaws and imagining ways to fix them.

This sample animated circle moves down and to the right, and leaves a trail behind it. They can see how changing variables and operations affects its movement.

The students’ task will be to create an animated drawing that has at least one object moving strictly horizontally or vertically, one object moving toward the lower right, and one object moving toward the upper right.  I’ve added bonus challenges for making objects bounce and switch direction.

This one is more complicated, with two shapes bouncing around the screen. Perhaps this is my differentiation strategy. Advanced students can learn about the “if” statement and make their objects bounce – although I really hope everyone gets there.

The kids LOVE programming, and several of them already have told me that they log on to Khan Academy on their own time and work on their programs.  How often do students go home and do more math than is required?  This is a side benefit I was really hoping for, and I’m pleased that it’s coming to fruition.  I want the kids to be really engaged in learning math and creating wonderful things.  I certainly hope that all students get to this point, and not just some.

I still do not have an assessment plan or differentiation strategy in place, and I know these are areas I need to work on. Coming soon!!  Perhaps tonight I should write rubrics based on how I *think* I would assess students, and give it a non-graded test run.

How should I assess them?