Latest attempt to make Programming interesting.

This is a simple assignment.  Use turtle graphics to draw a house.  In three different programming languages with extra credit for a forth language.  My goal here is obviously not three houses, but to get the kids to translate from one language and IDE to another without a big fuss.  I give then a list of languages: Small Basic, Visual Basic, MSWLogo, C++, C#, Scratch, and Python.  The fact I cannot do the assignment in C# or C++ just adds a little excitement.  I was considering putting RobotC in the list but then there are space issues, drawing on the floor issues and tying a pen on the robot issues.  An interesting observation: the kids learn that cut and paste sort of works, especially between SB and VB, but that they then have to change the syntax for the second language.  On their own they are learning the conundrum – de-bug or start from scratch.  Good stuff.  These kids can operate in SB and VB fairly well.  This is the second semester of programming for some, forth for a couple.  Some have done a little Scratch.  For guidance I am basically telling them to read the documentation or look at samples they find online.  In reality this is not much of a programming assignment; it is more of a research assignment.  I thought how most of the programmers I know learned programming languages.  Very rarely was it by sitting in a classroom while some knowledgeable expert demonstrates all the ins and outs of a language.  Usually it is by reading the docs and finding examples of code.   I want the kids to read and tinker, ask the kid next to them, dig around on line.  The assignment is simple, the kids think it is simple, but they are working their butts off and do not even notice it.


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