Best of the Week 2019-2020: Teaching to the Future
STUDENTS COMBINE GAMING AND CODING TO UNDERSTAND LOGIC AND PROBLEM-SOLVING
This week in Mr. Anthony Mortimer's Computer Science I elective course, freshmen and sophomore students put the computer programming concepts they've been learning to the test through game development. This week's unit focused on Boolean logic, the idea that all statements are either true or false. Using the Boolean logic, students used side-by-side coding in a console application to create their own "choose your own adventure" game. By running different codes and determining whether or not each one ran as a "true" or "false" code, students determined the paths their adventure games would take and how players could successfully finish the game based on the codes they selected. For example, in the design of their "choose your own adventure" games, students could determine which path their player would take into a cave and whether or not their player could steal a certain amount of gold before disturbing the guarding dragon nearby. The coding behind these choices presented to each player would determine the best routes and decisions to make while playing their game based on whether the value of the codes used were true or false.
"Computer programming is a subject that can be difficult for students to relate to and enjoy. At St. Ed's, we need to meet the desired output for our students who become graduates focused in computer programming." says Mr. Mortimer. "Gamification of learning has been proven to be effective when done right. By tying in important computer programming concepts with playing a game, students can enjoy learning and become better analytical problem solvers."
Not only does this lesson allow students to piece together information and derive solutions to the problems they observed, but the concepts behind this introduction to computer programming are also founded in philosophical logic, making this an interdisciplinary experience for students. Students used Boolean logic to dissect complex codes and determine possible scenarios while also raising philosophical questions based on whether or not a statement is true and the if/then outcome of that statement. This lesson covered the fundamentals of problem-solving with a fun twist that engaged students in learning how to compute their own virtual game. "This lesson covers many components of basic programming constructions," says Mr. Mortimer. "These types of experiences help our students become better problem solvers and essentially prepare them to become successful programmers and software developers in the future."