Generating Art: Shape Calculator

This resource, intended for an extended workshop session, uses sequences of instructions for creating drawings as a basis for learning about algorithms. Following the activity (taken from the series CSUnplugged), an introductory look at Scratch explores the different parts of the program and would be suitable for novices.

Scratch programs that use the pen for drawing are then debugged, both on and off the computer. Improvements are made to lengthy programs such as creating procedures for repeated commands. The programs are also edited to include user input of variables. A detailed explanation of variables follows, including how they would be used in a calculator program.
The children are challenged to create a drawing program that accepts a range of variables to draw different images of varying size. They then add to this program to create abstract art – example code and images for several 2D and 3D shapes is included, with Scratch files for the ‘offline’ Scratch editor.

For those who have used the programming language Logo, a quick reference guide sheet compares instructions in both Scratch and Logo.

The resource includes model answers for all the challenges, as well as a wipe-clean whiteboard template and several video tutorials. The activity plans can easily be adapted for delivery over a series of separate lessons.

Digital School House is associated and fully supported by Ukie

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