In the code.org puzzles my district uses as the core curriculum, many times students are given a lot of coding blocks and are asked to rearrange and remove any blocks aren't needed. The focus of these lessons is on debugging and the word abstraction is never mentioned in the directions or hints given within the puzzle. I mention it, of course -- but find that many of my students don't really make the connection.
One of my favorite ways to talk about abstraction and have students practice this skill is by pacifying Arno, the almost omnivorous Pizza Troll using the program The Logical Journey of the Zoombini's.
|Arno blocks the path so the Zoombini's can not move on. In order for him to move, the user must use the pizza topping buttons to serve up the perfect pizza.|
|In this example, you can see that Arno is not fond of pineapple or mushrooms. He has thrown them into the dump. The other toppings he likes -- so he has saved them for later. Can you decide what would be his PERFECT pizza??|
HINT!!! Presenting Arno with pizzas that only have one topping at a time is a critical act in determining what he likes. He gives very vague comments if he doesn't like an ingredient.
"There is something there I don't like!" "Ewwww....Gross!"
If you present a pizza with 3 toppings and only one is an ingredient he isn't fond of -- it's not very easy to guess which one it is.
As the game levels progress -- the student is introduced to two more pizza trolls -- each with their own likes and dislikes. The pizza machine also expands to produce an ice cream dessert with up to three different toppings.
|In the harder levels, you will meet Arno's friends -- Willa and Shyler. Each have their own likes and dislikes.|
It's very helpful for students to have some sort of way to take notes and record data as they discover it. A simple table would be great. Here is one that I use with my students. Click here or on the image to see it full size and download it if you like.
Pizza Pass is just one of the 12 amazing Computational Thinking and Logic games that are part of Zoombini's. In future posts, I hope to share some more of my favorite puzzles in this awesome program. Zoombini's is available to play on STEAM (computer play) -- or via the Apple App Store or Google Play .