Click me for a video on: The Crazy Octagon Project
What I learned this week in Turtle Academy was a better understanding of angles and being able to change established codes to create something a bit different regarding color, size, and speed. Really, the most important thing was the understanding about angles. Seeing the angles drawn out after giving a command created a connection between formal knowledge and a personal activity.
However, at this point, I have Scratch, beginnings of HTML, some commands in Java for my Creating in Code for the Lily pad and Turtle Academy. It’s too much at the same time. Every one of these tutorials uses a different format and doing three to four of these programming languages simultaneously creates terrible confusion. While the concepts are the same, the commands seem very different.
So far, Turtle was the best fit for me so far and the most fun. I can see what I am doing and love the Turtle. Papert in his book Mindstorms (p.57) speaks about identification with the Turtle. I even made the same mistakes as the child (on p. 61) with drawing a house and the triangle was inside. This syntonic learning resonates very powerfully because I can see what it is that I am doing. For me, the most difficult part has always been a lack of spacial perception. Once I grasped the principle of how to do a triangle creating the square became easier. I then started looking in Turtle Academy for similar scripts to see if I could spot them. I could. Then I moved on to look Octagon scripts again, it all started to make sense. Manipulating the code showed me instantly what would happen.
The biggest Aha moment came when I read in Papert (p.67) that Euclid defined the characteristic of a circle the constant distance between the point on the circle and a point, the center, that is not itself a part of the circle. I got that immediately!