New Lesson CSnap 101.1 (40-60 minutes)

James Davis

Brian Callahan and James Davis have started running power lunches on Mondays. This will document the first experience.


All computers start opened to a intentionally difficult CSnap game ‘helicopter’

The students were told to press 1 to start, and use the arrow keys to direct their little helicopter / rocket. After a couple minutes the students recognize that the game has a fair number of flaws, the most important of which is that it’s too difficult. Direct the students to change the code at their leisure, and tell them to change it to get as many points as possible.

To keep students engaged we did 3 things:

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Self-Expression Through Graffiti


This activity encourages students to learn about simple circuits while exploring self expression through graffiti.  Read the rest of this entry »

Skateboarder Activity

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Skate Boarder modelMath: Geometry, Algebra, slope, graphs

Science: Friction, Energy, Wind resistance, acceleration

Materials Needed: glue gun, cardboard, toy cars, finger skateboards, scissors, marbles, computers

Prep: Run Skateboarder CSDT – may need to install java on computers and download SB applets to computer hard drives. Optionally, you can just open in a browser:

Open the Skateboarder application for each student, spend a few days letting them play around and experiment with the software, asking questions wherever they find the need to. During that, spend days on lessons talking about circle degrees for using the arcs for ramps, moving segments programmatically using translation or rotation, and elasticity and friction.


  • Create your own skate park (to be referenced when you create your cardboard model).
  • Try to get your boarder to stop on a ramp.
  • Change the background of the application to a picture of your face and create a skate park so the skater skates around your face!
  • Once you are content with your software skate park, create models out of cardboard mimicking the software models and compare what the software skater does compared to how a marble/finger skateboard/toy car behaves on the cardboard model.

Teaching materials are also available