In Shannon LoRusso’s Lower School Technology and Computer Programming class, 6th-grade students have been learning how to program using Alice, an innovative block-based programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, or program simple games in 3D. For their 3rd quarter assignment, they worked together to create their own fairy tales. The students were required to have some of the same elements that they worked on together in class but then were given freedom to add on and elaborate their stories.
“Every student had the same middle section,” Mrs. LoRusso said. “The dragon had to come in and pick up the princess, and the camera had to go to the knight’s point of view. What they did in the beginning and end of the video was up to them. Some had the knight rescue the princess, but others had the princess rescue the knight, and some even had the princess rescue herself.”
“Making the dragon fly and spin around the castle was the hardest part,” said student Aiden Geis. “Placing everything was pretty easy in comparison.”
An important part of what the students learn is, surprisingly, math.
“It’s not just ‘1+1=2’,” Mrs. LoRusso said. “It’s the functions, the higher math that they’re learning, such as ‘if/then’ statements and things like that will come up in any job they’ve got in the future.”
They’re also learning a lot about teamwork.
“In a class of 22, sometimes you have a question but Mrs. LoRusso is busy helping out another student,” said student Karolina Kutova. “We’ve definitely learned to help each other out when we can. Listening is another big one, so we know what we’re supposed to do.”
Both Aiden and Karolina are excited to take programming classes in Upper School.
“When you learn the program, it’s really easy and fun,” said Aiden.