alice in summerland

learning and teaching math in alice

Sneaking in the veggies

My goal for today was to ensure that math be the backbone of every step in my programs–building the worlds, coding, and playing them.

Finally finished the matrix multiplication program! I started by creating helper methods to help me make the animation, which made it much easier. Also, yesterday the matrices were pre-determined in a messy and complicated way that the average user may not be able to figure out, but today I fixed that so the player can enter the numbers while he is playing. The only minor problem with the numbers generated by the player way is that I can’t figure out how to get ride of the “.0” at the end of every number, even if I clearly specify that I’m only looking for integers. Using the pre-determined way, the student who would be programming the game would need to know how to multiply matrices himself, because there is a line after each number in the answer matrix is guess that determines whether or not the answer is right. Thus, the student is not only building a program for other users to multiply matrices, but he is also practicing them himself. The player-generated option does not require the student to explicitly solve the matrix while he is programming the game, but he does need to insert abstract formulas, which are just as important.

The player has already answered 0x0,...,3x4, and now is asked to find 3x5.

I spent the second half of the day making an interactive multiplication table which is almost finished. The table has 121 slots with rows and columns labeled 0-10. If the player enters the correct number, the number appears in green, and if he enters the incorrect number it appears in red but he is still required to keep guessing until he gets the correct answer. There is a yellow square that moves along, and pop-up windows asking the player for the answer of each i*j, where i is the row and j is the column . Since it’s a long game, a built an if statement that ends the game if I type an answer to be -1 (all the correct answers are obviously 0-100). Anyway, this game took forever to build, putting in 121 numbers into their correct positions, and ensuring that each was still turned to face the camera and that it fit in its box. If I were to give this to students, I would give them a starting world with all “88”‘s or something and then let them fill in the blanks for themselves. This would prevent them from having to worry about their numbers fitting in the boxes, but they would still need to enter the numbers into the multiplication table, which gets them practicing before the game even starts.
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