STEM Coordinator, Trail Ridge Middle School
How will I introduce Scalable Game Design in my school?
As the new STEM Coordinator at Trail Ridge Middle School, I plan to support the classroom teachers and students in implementation of the AgentSheets program. Students will learn computational thinking patterns, understand related science & STEM concepts through running various simulations, develop mathematical thinking and sense making through application of coding rules, and enhance their confidence and excitement around computer programming. The software has demonstrated fantastic results in schools across the state with students of all backgrounds, intelligences, and dispositions. I hope to raise awareness and excitement among the students around the possibilities of computer programming, game design, and computational thinking.
Project Journal: 2013
DAY ONE, MONDAY:
- #project Learned a ton about how to use AgentSheets application and create a personalized project.
- #teaching Ownership will be a great element to get students involved in the process and excited about making their own games.
- #teaching Scaffolding will be important for students who need extra support; could we get access to the created resources, such as the Frogger example that was passed around this morning? (Yasko: Western Wyoming Community College Frogger “tutorial” handbook is available in total on the wiki. It is under How to Design Frogger on the main page of Scalable Game Design wiki. We’ll be exploring the wiki together a bit in another day or so.)
- #teaching I love that students can go online after uploading their games and see what their classmates have created.
DAY TWO, TUESDAY:
- #project Great pace this morning, I felt well-equipped to handle the next section every time it came up. I feel much better about the basics of the program (and of programming in general) and am proud of what I’ve made so far! I was excited to go home & show my husband my frogger game last night, I can only imagine how excited students will be to share their games & codes with their parents & friends!
- #teaching David, Hilarie, and Ian’s demonstration around the importance of pedagogical awareness was really powerful. There was a massive difference in the safety around asking questions, the balance of information vs inquiry around discovery-based learning, and the sense of ownership over the project. I think it helped me really internalize the perspective of the learner which I’ll be able to draw on while teaching.
DAY THREE, WEDNESDAY:
YouTube Videos Demonstrating Computational Thinking Patterns:
Example One:  - (a bomb exploding under water)
- Collision: Water molecules colliding into each other & pushing each other around, water colliding into the boat to change it's position and structure.
- Push: Water molecules send a message to the next molecule to move forward.
- Generate: The bomb under the water generates air, a new agent that affects the surrounding water.
- Diffusion: The water molecules are moving away from the point of explosion and diffusing into the surrounding air and empty space.
Example Two:  - (one of my favorite videos... The Joy of Books. A stop animation showing the life of a bookstore after closing time)
- Perceive-Act Simulation: The books at times work in simulated fashion, so they have to perceive the actions of the agents around them and then behave according to their rules for those actions.
- Push or Pull: when the books follow each other, it could be working off a push or pull code, depending on how the game was made.
- Script: At times the books just follow the actions of the leader.
- Generate: Some books open up and cause new books to appear; they generate new agents.
- Absorb: Opposite of the above, some books disappear when hitting one wall of the bookshelf during some of their dances.
- #teaching Debugging was super helpful... I almost wish there was kind of a checklist we could move through to troubleshoot different problems, maybe organized by probability of occurring based on common mistakes?
- #sgd I would love to have a step by step answer sheet for fixing the problems encountered on the Debugging pdf... the titles kind of give away what the problem is, but doesn’t really tell how to fix it.
- #ct Was great to discuss and learn about the computational thinking patterns & how they’re named. Was really helpful, I was pretty fuzzy on them before the Jeopardy activity. Thanks for the clarification!
#project Advanced topics was great; it really clarified some confusions I’ve been having the past couple of days.
- #teaching The fact that there are SO many different ways to perform actions in games kind of mirrors the vast number of ways students can solve problems in math. I really like that they can develop their understanding and take further ownership of their learning through creativity in coding just like they can through varied problem solving in math.