Anna Holen

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How will I introduce Scalable Game Design in my school?

  • Place: Overland Trail Middle School, Brighton
  • How: I plan to use the week long Frogger game lesson with all of my 7th grade general computing classes. (Each class lasts approximately 45 minutes.) I hope to be able to use it early in the term; preferable the 3rd week or so, once the kids have stopped switching classes and the dust has settled.

Outline of Frogger lessons


    • One computer per student, either in computer lab or 1 laptop per student in regular class. Students will be buddied up with one or two other students to help each other out.
    • Agentsheets program loaded on all machines.
    • Internet connectivity for each computer and/or tutorial as separate document on each computer

Level 1

Day 1:

    • Share unit objective, end product requirements and grading rubric
    • Optional: Have students play several Frogger games to see what they’re like.
    • Point out that the frog needs a starting strip of land, 2-4 lanes of traffic, optional land strip between road and river, at least 3 lanes of river, and a final landing strip. This will be important in planning placement of agents. Poor planning will force kids to move things around and redraw/retest sheet.
    • Initially teacher to model each step rather than have students use the tutorial unassisted-use Synchroneyes or similar program to force students to watch-broadcast to each computer if possible.
    • Create frog agent
    • Create a worksheet – stress importance of saving sheet, and resetting before creating new things on the sheet.
    • Frog able to move in all four directions frog

Day 2:

    • Create street and car agents
    • Add streets and cars to worksheet
    • Car agents programmed to move on road, left to right
    • Note on test run - cars stack up.
    • Create tunnel agent - Generation and absorption of cars
    • Remind students not to spend too much time on artwork- can always modify the agents later

Day 3: (perhaps try having kids just build river, logs and turtles on this day if collision lesson is too time consuming to allow catch-up for absent kids.)

    • Collision of frog and truck
    • Create bloody frog agent, add sound

-Extension – regeneration of frog after death (optional instead of hitting reset button)


Level 2

Day 4:

    • Create river agent, log agent
    • Make the log move on water, left to right
    • Log generator (bridges) generates and absorbs logs
    • Make frog unable to swim, type in “I cannot swim” or make splash sound
    • Transport computational thinking pattern – use video or model for students with log and frog

Day 5:

    • Create turtle agent
    • Make the log move on water, right to left
    • Turtle generator (palm trees) generates and absorbs turtles
    • Transport computational thinking pattern.
    • Check for understanding- see if student can create the turtle agent and set up transport independently

Final assessment – each student uploads game to scalable game design arcade, can play each other’s games.

Extension activities:

    • Lives for frog.
    • Frog regeneration tied to lives, for example, can only play 3 times before “game over” like arcade game
    • Scoring – for example, more points for landing on a more difficult to reach grotto (typically in the upper right corner) or for the least amount of traveling (steps taken)

Frogger River Tutorials


6/7/10 - I enjoyed learning the virus simulation. It was a good refresher of the difference between global and local variables. The graphing feature was also cool to learn. I also enjoyed the time to talk with students and teachers at the end about what worked and doesn't work--it helped me to hear some of the struggles that other teachers have had.

6/8/10 - Pacman was a lot of fun to program today. It's neat to see how much I've learned since last summer (the first time we did PacMan). It was much easier for me to program PacMan this time around. I also enjoyed having other teachers do some of our PacMan instruction. I especially enjoyed Sandy's visual description of how Diffusion works.

6/9/10 - We continued working on Pacman today, learned some common problems that can come up in Frogger and how to debug them, and created Pacman Rubrics. It was helpful to work as a team to create the rubric. After lunch, we looked at and discussed an Ant simulation.

6/10/10 - We started of the day at the UMC designing a lesson around one of the STEM simulations. Our group worked with Fractris and created a 2 day lesson to use Fractis with a math class. We then returned to Atlas and disucussed working with groups, collaboration, and had some questions answered. We also looked at a Google Doc spreadsheet that will be used for scheduling. Very cool!

6/11/10 - We looked at statistics from the student surveys. It was interesting to see student response to AgentSheets. We also met with the teachers/students from our geographic regions to see who would be helping out in the classrooms. In the afternoon, Alex answered questions from yesterday that had not yet been addressed.

Implementation - I will be using Frogger again with my 7th grade computer class and Pacman with my Advanced 7th grade class. This is a new class that I will be teaching next year, so I'm not sure yet when exactly in the class I will implement Pacman. I'm also not sure when in the year I will have this class. Lots of unknowns! Frogger will be implemented in the last 2 weeks of the quarter (weeks 5 & 6).