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Re: How to introduce 8 year olds to (Perl) programming?

by Anonymous Monk
on Apr 25, 2005 at 20:05 UTC ( #451326=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to How to introduce 8 year olds to (Perl) programming?

Holy crap, follow Dave0's advice and stick to something like Logo and turtle graphics. And ditch the shopping idea. Talk about boring. Graphics are a lot more whiz-bang, and you could give each kid a printout of his code and the resulting output.
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Re^2: How to introduce 8 year olds to (Perl) programming?
by jhourcle (Prior) on Apr 26, 2005 at 02:29 UTC

    If you have the right gear, Logo can be used to control robots with a serial interface. Another alternative would be to use Lego Mindstorms. In which case, you might want to take a look at LEGO::RCX (which I've never used... I don't have an IR tower)

    I think writing games and graphics has a much higher bar of entry than when I was 8. I was perfectly happy with drawing blocks on the screen in basic on an Apple ][e. It was close to the games I played at the time (hell, this was before Moon Patrol, Spy Hunter and Oregon Trail ... I think Jump Man and LodeRunner were the big games of the day ... and Pinball Construction Set)

    20 minutes is not enough time to do anything really significant. Even the sandwich example may be a bit much. Drawing a square might take up 20 minutes. (I'll admit, I don't know 8 year olds -- they'd probably have a better attention span than my neighbor's 5 year old ... I hope, or you're going to be driven crazy after 4 hrs of it.)

    You might want to prepare for a few different possibilities, just so if the first run doesn't go well, you have a backup plan. In some of the sessions, you might have to answer lots of questions, and not get to all of the stuff you want, while in others, you're going to to rush through too quickly, and need something else to occupy time.

      I love LEGO::RCX. The original programming environment is very object-like, you stick pre programmed modules together in a graphical interface thats simple and fun to use.

      However, there are a couple of things missing: Variables, and flexibility.

      But once your child gets to the point of wanting those things, there are other programming languages available for the RCX.
      NQC (Not Quite C) is a great next step, and gets the programmer into using variables and counters. There are a couple of good books on the Mindstorms robots, and programming them in RCX, NQC and other languages.

      Plus the Legos are still fun to play with. :-)

      I just realized that this was my 100th writeup. Thanks perlmonks for being here! :-)

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