alice in summerland

learning and teaching math in alice


I’ve added a new world template to my collection of places to work.

Current collection: my office, LSRC, tables outside Blue Express, my bedroom, and now the math library.

What better place than the beautiful and peaceful library at the end of the math wing of the physics building? The grad students who have been sharing my office constantly talk really loud with one another throughout the day, so I decided to temporarily relocate to a place that would be quieter.

I spent most of today doing more tutorials: a grammar game using the concept of opacity, a Nutcracker scene using lighting, Alice Pongusing BDE (before, during, end) events, and a snowman randomly changing color using advanced functions.

When talking with Professor Rodger about my permutations program from Wednesday and the obvious inefficiency of the 4! example, she reminded me that I should use arrays.

…Duh! Why didn’t I think of that? I’ve used arrays in almost every program I’ve written for the past two years, yet I completely forgot to use the structure in my Alice program. But Alice isbased on Java. Arrays, lists, strings, for loops, if statements–they still exist in Alice! A huge epiphany. This is going to be very important for many of my programs in Alice, but I do need to remember to be careful not to use anything too advanced that middle schoolers won’t understand in short tutorial.

Since Professor Rodger’s CompSci 4 website includes classwork activities and assignments using more advanced Alice than the website I’ve been using for Alice materials, I did CS4’s Classwork 17 to learn more about how to use arrays in Alice. There’s a bug that I wasted the last hour of the day trying to find that I still haven’t found. I know it’s within two lines of code that I could have sworn were correct, but I guess not. Probably something stupid–typical.

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