[FoRK] yet another story about my kid

Corinna < corinna.schultz at gmail.com > on > Mon Mar 6 14:09:04 PST 2006

So this weekend I was doing my son's lesson with Logo (he's 8yo), after 
having not done any lessons for a couple of weeks. The goal was to draw the 
various figures we'd done so far, but only using negative numbers. (He needs 
some reinforcement of the idea of negative numbers as vectors, not just in 
the manipulative, arithmetic sense of addition and subtraction.)

I told him to draw a vertical line and have the turtle end up in the 
beginning position, as a warm up and to make sure he got the idea. He tried 
fd -100, but the line was in the wrong place. So I mentioned to him that 
there was a back commond, and he quickly figured out to do
back -100 rt -180 back -100

I told him to make a square. And without prompting, figured out one of the 
characteristics of programmers - we are lazy, you should reuse code. He went 
and looked up an earlier procedure to see how to make a square. Yea! He 
replaced all the fd 100 with back -100 and the rt 90 with lt -90. No 

He easily did an equilateral triangle, using the same methods (iirc, he had 
to make the turn first in order for the triangle to have the correct 
orientation). But then I offered him a pice of chocolate if he could figure 
out one more problem. I warned him it would be hard. Make an equilateral 
triangle, but don't replace the rt 120 with a lt -120.

He tried all sorts of things, but didn't figure out to do rt - 240. I 
offered to give him a hint, but warned him that he wouldn't get the 
chocolate if I had to give him a hint. After about 20 minute of trying 
various things, he decided to forgo the solution and the chocolate for now, 
and pick up again next time.  I was really surprised at how tenacious he was 
with the problem, and how he enjoyed the game of using negative numbers to 
get the same pictures.

We'll see if he gets the correct answer next time.  I don't think he's 
really absorbed that a circle is circular, and that negative degrees means 
go the other direction around the circle, so I don't think he'll figure it 

He's gotten pretty good with arithmetic, but I think he needs more exposure 
to problems involving the nature of numbers, and that's part of the point of 
working with Logo, at least for now.

P.S. Ys, I'm proud of my daughter's efforts in her lessons, too, but I don't 
think you guys want to read about her music and reading lessons... I figure 
one kid should be enough torture :) 

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