Move the Turtle

Turtles are not known to be speedy movers, but have you ever tried to get them to move in a specific direction? How about getting them to move in a perfect circle? With this app, young computer programmers have to be on their toes to learn the basics of programming and get this little turtle moving correctly. 

1st - 9th Technology & Engineering 15 Views 3 Downloads
Concepts

App Overview

Move the Turtle, uses the paradigm of moving an object across a screen to teach techniques of computer programming. Young programmers are guided through the steps of creating small programs or tasks. The app introduces different constructs one-by-one and then guides users through the process of adding them to a program. For instance, first, one learns to move the turtle forward, then you add a pen to draw as the turtle moves, next, you turn the turtle, and so on. 

The following programming constructs are covered:

  • Moving
  • Turning
  • Drawing with a pen
  • Adding color
  • Adding sound
  • Creating a looping construct
  • Creating a procedure
  • Using variables
  • Using conditional instructions
  • Writing the value of a variable

As you progress through the different constructs, you reach different levels of accomplishment and earn badges along the way. 

Projects can be saved to a personal library or shared. Sharing programs allows one to publicly share a link with others. The app also has a number of example programs that users can view, reuse, or change for their own use.

 

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Rating Details

  • Adherence to task

    Provides a clever game-like way to introduce programming.

  • Worth the money

    Allows for users to progress at their own rate. Beginning and advanced students can find challenges with this app.

  • Fun factor

    Many will find this challenging and addictive at the same time.

  • Scaffolding of learning

    Guidance provided to help you solve the problems.

  • User safety

    Requires users to solve a small algebraic expression before allowing one to link out of the app to the internet. Has a stated strict privacy policy.

  • Control and feedback

    There are no reporting features to monitor student progress in this app.

  • How techie do I need to be?
    Intermediate
Instructional Ideas

  • A number of the drawing activities require that programmers utilize prior knowledge of some geometry concepts. Have learners draw circles or different types of triangles as a way to learn about programing and reinforce these geometry concepts at the same time. 
  • Have students share different ways of solving the same problem. Discuss different solutions to help support struggling learners.
Classroom Considerations

  • There are no reporting features to monitor student progress in this app
  • Requires users to solve a small algebraic expression before allowing one to link out of the app to the Internet. A strict privacy policy is stated. 
Pros

  • Provides practice and challenge for a variety of ages. Younger students may need more guided instruction than is provided in the app.
  • Learners can progress at their own pace and create their own projects
  • Learning is scaffolded along the way. Instructions can be replayed. Even solutions can be seen, if needed.
Cons

  • When learning new constructs, the instructions are intentionally terse to support younger learners. At times, a few more instructions would be helpful to clarify directions.