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3.08: Marty Blocks vs Python

45 Minutes

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, students will be comparing MartyBlocks - a block-based programming language - to Python – a text-based programming language, that is widely used in many disciplines including websites, gaming, machine learning and robotics. Students will be drawing links between the two languages as they begin to prepare for writing their first Python script in future lessons.

Key vocabulary:

Text-Based Programming

Block-Based Programming

Python

MartyBlocks

Algorithm

Command

Content Sections

  • Learning Objectives
  • Warm-up:
  • Get Learning:
  • Cool Down:
  • Extensions & Challenges
  • Support:
  • Extend:
  • Additional Reading
  • 3.08: Marty Blocks vs Python

    45 Minutes

    Lesson Overview

    In this lesson, students will be comparing MartyBlocks - a block-based programming language - to Python – a text-based programming language, that is widely used in many disciplines including websites, gaming, machine learning and robotics. Students will be drawing links between the two languages as they begin to prepare for writing their first Python script in future lessons.

    Key vocabulary:

    Text-Based Programming

    Block-Based Programming

    Python

    MartyBlocks

    Algorithm

    Command

    • General knowledge of MartyBlocks commands
    • Laptop / Desktop with Wi-Fi
      • Marty Workbook
      • 2 Maze worksheets
      • MartyBlocks print out blocks
      • Python print out commands
      • Counter/marker for maze worksheet

    Learning Objectives

    I can describe the way that information could be displayed in more than one representational system - MartyBlocks and Python

    I can write a sequence of structured steps to complete a goal

    Warm-up:

    Show a simple ''Hello World' print statement, in Python. Ask learners what they think this would do. Ask if they can think of a command in MartyBlocks that would end in the same result. Ask which they prefer to use? Familiarity might suggest MartyBlocks. Show a line of Python, that won't necessarily be understood but can be used to show how long it takes to write code. Repeat this in MartyBlocks showing how long it can take to 'write' code. Talk about the reasons why a person might choose Python over MartyBlocks: time, versatility, portability, etc. (Have a video of someone using / talking about python.)

    Get Learning:

    Take time to go over the presentation, particularly the slide showing the MartyBlocks and Python text , and talk about the print outs with MartyBlocks and Python code. Share with the learners a task to guide Marty through a maze, stipulate that only the commands on the pages they have may be used. Divide learners into groups of MartyBlocks and Python coders. Have learners work together to write commands onto paper for what they think they need for Marty to get to the goal.

    As learners write each command, have them move a Marty counter on the maze.

    Once learners have reached the goal, have them compare their full instructions with another group to see if they are the same or how they were different: choice, number or order of commands. Distribute a second maze and ask learners, in the same groups, to complete it using the other language.

    Once the mazes are complete, have groups discuss what was easy, difficult and interesting about navigating the mazes with the language given to their group: was one language trickier than the other? They will be sharing with the class.

    Cool Down:

    Ask for spokespersons from each of the groups to showcase their code and share their thoughts on the ease or challenge of using the different languages.

    Extensions & Support

    Support:

    Decrease the size/complexity of the maze, for learners who are challenged by lengthy instructions.
    Have physical Marty devices to show them what happens with each of the commands in MartyBlocks or have quick video clips available to view on devices, highlighting the command.

    Extend:

    Once completed, have learners think if there is a way to group or simplify commands with code not included on the sheet.
    Have learners think of more advanced blocks - sensors, for example - that could be used were this a real maze.

    • Middle School Technology Applications: Grade 6 to Grade 8
    • Technologies: Computing Science
    • Literacy & English: Listening and Talking
    • Health and Wellbeing: Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing
    • Literacy & English: Reading
    • Literacy & English: Writing
    • Computing, Design and Technology: Design and Technology
    • Computing, Design and Technology: Computing
    • CSTA Education Standards
    • Digital Technologies, Design & technologies: Digital Technologies
    • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)