Excitement at Jack Abrams STEM Innovation Lab
February 5, 2024
Innovation and creativity abound at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School where solutions and inventions are part of daily classroom life for students spread across grades four, five and six. One of the youngsters’ favorite places in the building is the Innovation Lab.
“Our fourth grade students just completed a Project Lead The Way clicker game project,” Principal Donna Moro said.
Students used their knowledge of computing systems, including inputs, outputs, the transfer of information, etc. to create a clicker game on code.org. The objective? When the user touches the sprite (character), the user scores a point.
“Students learned how variables can be coded to create a score for their game and used events to trigger different outputs,” Innovation Lab teacher Jessica Martino said.
The sprite was given the behavior of “wandering” to randomize where it would travel on the screen. When the sprite is clicked (input event), # 1: score a point (output); #2: jump sprite to a random location (output).
“Students created a score variable and added coding blocks to set score to zero at the beginning of the game and make their score go up every time the sprite was clicked, etc.” Ms. Martino said.
Students investigated how logic can be used to create a winning or losing code in their game.
• “If the score equals 20 before 30 seconds, stop the game and the screen will read, You Win”
• “At 30 seconds, if the score ≤ 20, the screen will read, You Lose”
“Students were encouraged to use the less/greater than or equal to sign to reinforce the use of it during math class,” Ms. Martino said. “This type of thinking and coding provides students with the opportunity to use their critical thinking, logic and analysis skills.”
At the end of the progress the fourth graders added their creative flare to their code to make it more difficult and/or their own. For example:
• Students increased the speed that their sprite traveled to make it harder to click
• Students added an event block where each time the sprite is clicked, it shrinks by minus 1
• Students had their sprite say something every time it was clicked
All Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School students participate in one or two Project Lead The Way projects. Project Lead the Way encourages students to become hands-on problem solvers. Attempting to address real-world problems will help students understand how knowledge and skills they develop in the classroom translate to everyday life.
Visit https://www.pltw.org/ to learn more about Project Lead The Way.