Hour of Code Teacher Notes
Your students can create a complete 3D Frogger game, or any other game, which they can share with their friends and run on mobile and regular browsers. An interactive tutorial guides them through all the steps including how to make 3D shapes, and how to program them. In one hour they will be able to create at least the first 3D shape (a frog or indeed any shape they want) and program that Frog. If, at the end of the lesson they submit their games then they will receive an email including a link to their project. With this link they can continue working on the project at home. The 3D Frogger activity will introduce your students to important computational thinking concepts.
To introduce the game design activity use these slides to explain the game play. Show them the text and have your students:
- shout out the names of the nouns (these will be the objects called agents in AgentCubes), and
- shout out the verbs (these will be the actions of the agents)
After this introduction run the design and programming activity using one of these strategies:
- (good) You demonstrate on the video projected classroom computer. Run each video segment, typically 2 minutes, and have your students follow the instructions. Have them work in pairs if possible.
- (better) Ask for a student volunteer (no experience required) to run each video segment. This allows you to walk around in the classroom to make sure nobody gets lost.
- (also good) if you have headsets have your students follow the instructions individually. Make it a policy that if your students are confused to have them first play the video segment again, or ask their neighbors for help before they raise a hand and ask you.
Simply watch the video for a short while and begin to create a 3D Frogger game, or any other game you would like to build. The interactive table of contents allows you to skip to relevant topics.
- Create 3D Objects: Draw 2D images and turn them into amazing 3D shapes.
- Create 3D Worlds: Assemble the shapes you just built into exciting worlds.
- Rule your World: Bring your world to life by programming using simple drag and drop rules.
- Share the world with your friends: Click the "submit your game" (up, right in the programming environment) to send yourself a link to your game. With this link you can continue working on the game or share it with friends through email or Facebook. The game can be played on Smartphones. You even receive a Programming Certificate with your name.
AgentCubes online does not require any installation but you may still want to check:
- Make sure your browsers work. Run this little Browser Test. If you do NOT SEE a spinning cube you may be to configure your browser (e.g., on older Macs you may need to enable WebGL in the Safari browser) or use a different version of a browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox.
- YouTube may be blocked in your school. Make sure the video is playing.
Beyond one Hour
- Agent shapes in AgentCubes can be printed with 3D printers. This feature is still experimental.
- Finish your Frogger 3D game. Add more levels. Add layers.
- Create more sophisticated games.
- Create STEM Simulations. Here is a Predators and Prey simulation
Our activity is somewhat unusual in the sense that it includes a complete activity that can be programmed in an hour but ends with a "cliffhanger" leading to more programming. In the first hour students do create a first and already playable part of a game but the tutorial continues to allow students to create an elaborate game if they want to. Does the cliffhanger approach really work? Yes, we do have evidence comparing the 2013 3D Frogger activity with the 2013 Angry Birds (main) activity and the retention in the first hour is slighty higher with the Frogger 3D activity. We can now model and compare tutorials. Further, we also have data showing that students do indeed continue beyond the first hour.
What is learned?
- Computational Thinking Pattern: 5 main object interaction abstractions
- collision (frog, car)
- user control (cursor controlled frog)
- generate (tunnels generate cars)
- absorb (tunnels absorb cars)
- transport (turtles transport frogs)
- creating 3D shapes
- composing 3D worlds
- 3D camera control
For details on learning on motivation: Repenning, A., Webb, D. C., Koh, K. H., Nickerson H., Miller, S. B., Brand, C., et al., "Scalable Game Design: A Strategy to Bring Systemic Computer Science Education to Schools through Game Design and Simulation Creation," Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE), vol. 15, pp. 1-31, 2015.
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- The video and the user interface can be changed to other languages: German, French, Italian, Spanish and Dutch.
- Some countries have their own support sites for the 3D Frogger activity: Switzerland, Mexico
- ISTE S--4 Computational Thinker: Show theory and practice of Computational Thinking Tools allowing students to create games and STEM simulations.
- ISTE C--4 Professional development and program evaluation: Outline the use of cognitive (Computational Thinking Pattern Analysis) and affective (Retention of Flow) learning assessment instruments. Share data of teacher professional development efficacy.
- ISTE T--1 Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity: Explain the Zones of Proximal Flow learning framework to motivate and empower students through creative processes including the design and implementation of games and simulations.