Wait, I know that!!!!


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<p> If I'm doing my job right, by the time my kids graduate they can learn on their own. </p>

<p> It's like when two years ago, before starting her summer internship, Batya listed all the tools and technologies she had to work with. When I pointed out that she hadn't ever used any of them before and asked how she was going to deal with it, she replied "I'll figure it out." And she did. </p>

<p> At the end of the summer, Dina told a similar story about her internship and how she knew she'd figure everything out because of the solid background she got by going through StuyCS. </p>

<p> I loved both these stories. </p>

<p> But getting the kids there takes time. </p>

<p> Yesterday, in my AP classes, I assigned three <i>codingbat</i> problems. I decided to go objects first this time round so we haven't done any language constructs. The problems were simple String manipulations but I added one that needed conditionals. </p>

<p> Today we went over them. Most of the class solved the assignment and most had either no trouble or had to do just a little work. </p>

<p> I asked what about that last problem might have caused some difficulty. </p>

<p> They couldn't figure it out, it seemed pretty straighforward. After a number of guesses, one student said: </p>

<p> "Wait, we don't know ifs" </p>

<p> That was it. They didn't realize that they had taught themselves something new. </p>

<p> This, of course, doesn't just happen. </p>

<p> They've seen conditionals in all sorts of guises. </p>

<p> Scheme: </p> <div class="org-src-container">

<pre class="src src-scheme">(<span style="color: #a020f0;">if</span> boolean_expression True_part False_part) </pre> </div>

<p> NetLogo: </p> <pre class="example"> if boolean [True part]


ifelse boolean [True part][ False part] </pre>

<p> and Python: </p> <div class="org-src-container">

<pre class="src src-python"><span style="color: #a020f0;">if</span> <span style="color: #483d8b;">bool</span>: s1 <span style="color: #a020f0;">elif</span> bool2: s2 <span style="color: #a020f0;">else</span>: s3 </pre> </div>

<p> and so on. </p>

<p> So they new the concept, from there it was just details. </p>

<p> Some said they just wrote it and it worked. Some said they looked up sample code. Most didn't think they were doing anything new. </p>

<p> It was pretty awesome. </p>

<p> It's still a long road before they graduate, but we're getting there. </p>