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Programming with Alice

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Keywords: Programming, Alice
Subject(s): Technology
Grades 6 through 12
School: Dunham School, Baton Rouge, LA
Planned By: Dan Rosenberg
Original Author: Dan Rosenberg, Baton Rouge
This lesson plan was developed using the software Alice, which can be downloaded at www.alice.org. Selected lesson ideas were adapted from the book "Learning to Program with Alice - Brief Edition" by Wanda Dunn, Stephen Cooper, and Randy Pausch, published by Pearson Education, Inc. in 2007.

Discussion: Why learn computer programming?

Discussion of classroom policies, restroom/fountain locations, printer location

Discussion of logging on and off, saving onto flash drives

Explore Alice for about 15 minutes

Overview of the Alice tutorial

Exercise: Creating Worlds
• Create “New World.”
• Select grass template.
• Place a bunny (in “Animals” gallery) in the lower right hand corner.
• Move the bunny from the right to the center of the screen.
[Note: Let students discover for themselves that the move command is relative to the object, not the screen. As such, they may select “Move left” instead of “Move right.”]
• Make the bunny say, “Hello!”
• Make the bunny jump up, turn one revolution, then land.
[Note: Since there is no “Jump” method, the bunny will have to move up then down in order to jump.]

Discuss six degrees of freedom, the ability of the object to move left, right, forward, backward, up and down from its point of view.

Exporting code for printing, including the importance of saving to a single file source and putting one’s name in the author box.

Exercise: Developing Methods
• Select grass background and place the objects Alice (in “People” gallery) and the Cheshire cat and bunny (in “Animals” gallery)
• Have Alice say, “Jump!”
• Have Alice, then the rabbit, then the Cheshire cat jump.
• Have the Cheshire cat disappear, but have his smile reappear. Hint: Use “opacity” property.
• Have Alice and the bunny turn their heads to look at the cat’s smile.

Illustrate duration command to speed up/slow down method.

Exercise: Basic Animation
• Load hare and bee (from “Animals” and “”Animals-Bugs” galleries, respectively) in grass background.
• Have hare say hello while his right ear moves down and while the bees’ wings flap and the bee moves forward.

Illustrate breaking down object to parts and Do Together/Do in Order commands.

Homework: Write a detailed set of directions for a routine activity, being sure to think about what you would “Do in Order” and what you would “Do Together.” Once the homework is completed, have students discuss their homework in small groups, critiquing each other. Was each set of directions complete? What components of the tasks could be done together vs. in order?

Exercise: Using the Object Gallery to Create an Initial Scene
Moving or resizing subparts or entire objects in gallery. Use snowman (under “People” gallery) to illustrate copying, moving, and resizing the individual object and parts of the object. Move parts of the object by clicking “Affect subparts.” Illustrate quad view, using the view to assist in placing objects relative to each other. Show how to zoom and how to scroll.

Illustrate the camera navigation controls.

Review arranging objects in a scene, as needed.

Show how to delete objects.

Exercise: Using the Commands to Create an Initial Scene
Create frog and happy tree on grassland. Have the tree fall and rise, getting the frog’s attention. Have the frog stick its tongue out at the tree, with the camera zooming in on the frog in order to see the tongue clearly.

Exercise: (S)he Builder
Introduce He-Builder/She-Builder function (under “People” in Object Gallery)
Use “Show All Animations” command to illustrate all methods provided when you create your own person

Exercise: Key Tasks/Events
Create a program in which an object moves when keys are pressed.
Note the option to “Let the arrow keys move the object.” Left and right to face a direction; up and down to move.
Remind students that left from camera’s POV is right from object’s POV (and vice versa).

Exercise: Three-Dimensional Text and Importing Pictures
Illustrate 3-D text (from Object Gallery)
Show how to import pictures using “Make Billboard” from “File” menu

Have students create program using 3-D text, an imported picture, and key tasks. Finish as homework and share the next day.

Discuss scenarios (descriptions of problems or tasks).

Adding comments (green “//” at bottom of screen).

Work as a class to create a single scenario, then work individually or with partners to create a program to go with it.

Exercise: Nested Statements, Mouse Clicks, and Sounds
Introduce loops, nested statements, click task, sounds, and arrow keys task.

Use of clipboard or right-clicking to copy lines of code. Use of trash can or right-clicking to delete code.

Exercise: Moving 2 Objects Together
Load monkey (“Animals” gallery) and ball (“Sports” gallery). Make the monkey a vehicle of the ball so that they move together.

Exercise: Spider Monkey and Alien on Wheels (from "Learning to Program with Alice" book)
Basic functions
If/else statements
Changing color of objects

Final project: Create video game or movie using various commands learned to date. Provide time to work on individual programs.
Links: Download Alice software and additional resources
Materials: Mobile Labs, Computer Accessories