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Classroom Resources

First Day, 2021-08-19

Welcome to Computer Science

Beauty and Joy of Computing

BJC Logo

This year, we will study computer science using the Beauty and Joy of Computing curriculum, first developed at U.C. Berkeley, later adapted for high school, and for the first time this year, adapted for middle school.

BJC Introduction from U.C. Berkeley Professor Dan Garcia

Computing in the News

Each week we will spend about 5 minutes presenting and discussing a news item about computers.

Unit 1

Lab 1: Introduction to Snap!

(Adapted from the BJC curriculum)
Mr. Briccetti will guide you through using Snap! for the first time. We will make a block that reports a personalized greeting.

  • Make a block
  • Name it greet and make it a reporter block
  • Add an input called name
  • Use join to combine a greeting with the name
  • Put the join block inside the report block

Lab 2: Super Short Stories

In this activity, you’ll use functions to write one-sentence stories.

2021-08-25

Review of Growth Mindset

Video

Computing in the News

Lab 3: Dealing With Data

2021-09-02

Finding this Page

Look in Google Classroom for the link to St. Perpetua Computer Science 2021–22. Click on Go to the latest lesson.

Computing in the News

Confirming Your Email to Snap!

Continue at Your Own Pace

If You Finish

If you finish, play with Snap! and make something you like. Maybe look at the Snap! Crash Course. Or, explore other people’s Snap! projects. Use headphones if the programs you run make sound.

See Google Classroom

How did it go today?

2021-09-09

Computing in the News

Random Story, from Scratch

One student said they would have preferred creating the Super Short Story project from scratch, so we’ll do part of that together. Run Snap!

Saving and Sharing Your Work

Save your from-scratch story project. Share it and notice that the URL changes. Copy and paste the URL into today’s Google Classroom assignment.

Continue at Your Own Pace

Continue working from here on whatever you haven’t done (skipping Lab 1, Activities 1–3). Look at activities you’ve already done and think about what questions I might ask you to see how well you understand the material. There may be a quiz coming.

If You Finish

If you finish, play with Snap! and make something you like. Maybe look at the Snap! Crash Course. Or, explore other people’s Snap! projects. Use headphones if the programs you run make sound.

See Google Classroom

2021-09-16

Computing in the News

Classroom Rules

Listening to Music

Not today. This privilege may return to specific individuals with consistently good classroom behavior.

Allowable Activities

Unless otherwise authorized, you’ll only engage in approved activities on the computers. This will usually be the Snap! web sites, the BJC curriculum web site, and this page.

Leaving Class

Unless it’s urgent, please don’t ask to leave class during the lecture part of the class (usually the first 5–15 minutes).

Resources

See the Resources section at the top of this page, for links such as Snap! and the BJC curriculum.

Reminder of How to Share

See Creating a Link under Sharing Projects in the Snap! Crash Course.

BJC and Snap! Quiz 1 (See Google Classroom)

Rock, Paper, Scissors Test, in Snap! (See Google Classroom)

If You Finish

If you finish, play with Snap! and make something you like. Maybe look at the Snap! Crash Course. Or, explore other people’s Snap! projects. Use headphones if the programs you run make sound.

How Did It Go Today? (See Google Classroom)

2021-09-23

Computing in the News

BJC for High School

See the link in Resources, above, if you want more challenging activities.

Quiz Review

Rock, Paper, Scissors Block

Complete this test from last week.

  • Run Snap!
  • Create a list of the three words
    • Search for list
  • Randomly choose an item from the list
    • Search for random
    • Use the brown Item of block
    • Drag the list of three words into the rightmost input slot
    • Change the 1 to random
    • Click on the block to test it. One of the three words should appear each time
  • Make a new block, a reporter block
  • Drag the Item of block into the input slot of the report block
  • Push apply
  • Search for the block you created
  • Drag it to the script area
  • Click on the block to test it. One of the three words should appear each time.

Lab 5

For those who are ready. You’ll find Lab 5 in the BJC Middle School Curriculum.

How Did It Go Today? (See Google Classroom)

2021-09-30

Binary Numbers “Unplugged” Activity

Introduction

  • Number Systems
    • What different number systems do we know about? (Roman Numerals; Tally marks; Number bases like binary and decimal.)
    • Why do we normally use 10 digits? (10 fingers, plus it’s a fairly efficient way to write things compared with, say, tally marks.)
    • Why do we have different number systems? (Humans use base ten, computers use base 2 because of their on/off circuitry)
  • Bit (Binary Digit)
    • Can have the values 0 or 1 (also thought of as off or on))
      • Decimal digits can be any of the ten values 0 to 9
    • Computer circuitry works with binary numbers (made up of bits)

“Unplugged” Activity

  • Place five volunteers at front
  • Hand out cards from right to left, with students predicting what comes next
  • Repeat a few times
    • Students think of decimal number from 1–31
    • Show them in binary
      • all bits on, then from left to right, see if bits should be on and turn off as needed
  • Count starting at 0
  • How might binary numbers represent letters?
  • Kids decode a message: 01000 01001
  • Letters are actually represented using ASCII
  • What else can be represented in binary?
    • images
    • sounds
    • movies

Lab 5, Activity 1

The Numbers Systems for Humans vs. Machines section explores binary numbers, as we did with our unplugged activity. You’ll find Lab 5 in the BJC Middle School Curriculum.

How Did It Go Today? (See Google Classroom)

2021-10-07

Ergonomics

If you are sitting facing a window, feel free to close the blinds to reduce eye strain.

Computing in the News

  • Snap! now has over 5,000,000 saved projects
  • Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen

Practice with the binary dots cards

I have the cards here if anyone wants to practice with them.

How old is the birthday person?

See Google Classroom

BJC

Continue in the BJC Middle School Curriculum. For many of you this will be Unit 1, Lab 5.

How Did It Go Today?

See Google Classroom, and answer this near the end of class.

2021-10-14

Computing in the News

IoT Hacking and Rickrolling My High School District (Don’t try this.)

BJC

Caesar Cipher Demo

Continue in the BJC Middle School Curriculum.

How Did It Go Today?

See Google Classroom, and answer this near the end of class.

2021-10-22

Computing in the News

Edward Snowden laments scientific young minds working on getting ad-clicks.

Snap!

Keep working through the BJC curriculum, or,
Take a break from it and make something fun and graphical today.

  • Stage
    • 480 × 360
  • Sprites
  • Costumes
  • Editing images (crop, scale, etc.)
    • Pixlr or whatever you prefer

7th Grade

Complete your homework, What do you think of the hack from today’s Computing in the News, if you haven’t.

Progress

Grade 6 pulled images from Creative Commons Search. Grade 7’s progress was interrupted. Grade 8 made a little game with a predator animal and a prey animal.

2021-10-29

No grade 8 today.

Seating Chart Check

Any corrections or movement requests?

Notable Women in Computing

Three women in computing playing cards

Several students will choose a card from the deck and introduce us to one of the women.

Self-Paced Work

Choose one or more of these options:

2021-11-05

Computing in the News

TCP/IP Created

Work at Your Own Pace in the BJC Curriculum

Please record in Google Classroom, which labs and activities you work on.

Erasing Data with a Hydraulic Press

2021-11-19

Computing in the News

Robots can use their own whirring to echolocate and avoid collisions

Mr. Briccetti shows Letter Boxed game solver

Work at Your Own Pace in the BJC Curriculum

Other Options

  • Try some of the New York Times puzzles, and think about how you might solve them with a computer program

What Did You Do Today?

Please record in Google Classroom what you did today.

2021-12-03

Computing in the News

Advent of Code

Solving Advent of Code Day 1, Part 1

In Snap!

Here’s a solution similar to what we did in class:

In Python

Watch this video after we work in Snap! if you like.

How Did It Go Today?

Please record in Google Classroom how it went today.

2021-12-10

Computing in the News

New artificial intelligence tool detects most common climate falsehoods

Solving Advent of Code Day 2, Part 1

Directions from Advent of Code

In Snap!

Open this starter project (or create the starter code yourself by looking at the picture below) and finish it. Picture of starter project

In Python

If you’re interested, learn how from this video.

Google Classroom

Nothing today

2022-01-07

Computing in the News

Hi-tech AI-powered robots are replacing recycling centre workers in Finland

Today’s Activities (Choose One or More)

1) Warm Up Your Brain with Mr. Briccetti’s Wordle Clone

Run it on replit. If you want to find out how the Python program works, watch this video:

2) Lab 7: Dealing with Data Dos (Part 2)

If you feel up for a challenge, work on Lab 7

3) Other BJC Unit 1 Labs

4) Run, study and modify other people’s Snap! projects

Google Classroom

What did you do today?

2022-01-21

Computing in the News

More than half of medical devices found to have critical vulnerabilities

Today’s Activities (Choose One or More)

1) BJC Unit 1 Labs

2) Run, study and modify other people’s Snap! projects

(Not only play, but see what you can learn from them.)

3) Help detect when the car reaches the end of the track

2022-01-28

Computing in the News

Rooftop Drones for Autonomous Pigeon Harassment¹
¹No pigeons are harmed

BJC Hardware Unit Preview

Here’s something Mr. Briccetti made:

BJC Unit 1 Labs

Google Classroom Feedback for BJC creators

Please record in Google Classroom how it went today, along with feedback for the BJC creators.

2022-02-04

Computing in the News

The Athenian School FIRST Robotics Team Prepares for Competition.

Hot Wheels Track Progress

MakeCode Programs

The Car-Detection Circuit

The Car-Detection Circuit

The micro:bit

MakeCode

Spend some time in MakeCode, using the tutorials and trying out your own ideas.

Google Classroom

What did you do and learn today?

2022-02-11

Start Away from Computers

Behavior Expectations

Computing in the News

Swedish Father and Son Create Bird Feeder that Teaches Wild Magpies to Pick Up Litter

Hot Wheels Track Project Update

Notes from 2022-02-10 at The Athenian School

micro:bit

The micro:bit

Today we’ll start using the micro:bit. They have a lot in common with the CPX, including:

  • LEDs
  • sound
  • sensors (light, heat, acceleration, etc.)
  • motor control ability

Breakout Boards

A breakout board makes it easier to connect a device such as the micro:bit to other components. It is easier to connect a servo motor to the micro:bit because the breakout board has headers, pins that connect directly to the servo’s female connectors.

Bit Board Basic

Trying Out the micro:bit

Use the USB cable in the kit to connect the micro:bit to your computer. Be gentle. The micro:bit should power up and then engage you for a few minutes in an interesting way that shows some of its features.

Connect to the Breakout Board

Gently insert the micro:bit into the connector on the breakout board.

Connect the Servo

Servo connection

Make a Program

As before with the CPX, we’ll use MakeCode, but a different version of it for micro:bit.

Try the tutorials.

Download Directly to the micro:bit (No Drag and Drop Needed)

This requires Chrome or Edge. Click on the gear icon and choose Connect device. Once connected, push Download and that’s all that’s needed.

Battery Pack

You can disconnect the micro:bit from the computer once you have it programmed, and instead power it from a battery pack. Connect the battery pack as shown here (red to +, black to -). When disconnecting, don’t pull the wires. Pull on the plastic piece instead.

Power connection

Play Time

Play with the servo, the LEDs, sound, the accelerometer, whatever you like! Make something.

Radio Communication

This is one of Mr. Briccetti’s favorite features. These devices can communicate with each other using radio transmissions. If we have time we’ll play with it.

2022-02-18

Computing in the News

Is Firefox OK?

micro:bit

Progress with the Hot Wheels Gates

Playlist

Play Time

Try tutorials and your own ideas. Play with the Hot Wheels gates.

2022-02-25

Computing in the News

Here’s a project Mr. Briccetti has been working on. It uses an Arduino. Arduino lacks some friendly features that Circuit Playground Express and micro:bit have, but it provides other features, such as supporting both 5 volts and 3.3 volts. Mr. Briccetti used it for this project because the ultrasonic range finder requires 5 volts. Unlike the other microcontrollers we’ve used, Arduino is usually programmed in the C++ language (which is very fast compared to Python, but much more difficult).

Code for the Fan Project

Fan project in the Arduino IDE

The 8 Cycles at 40khz from the Ultrasonic Range Finder

8 Cycles at 40kdz

Unit 2: Sequencing and Iteration (Part A)

Lab 1: Song Player

2022-03-04

Computing in the News

The life of Pi: Ten years of Raspberry Pi

Your Choices Today

  1. Unit 2, Lab 1: Song Player (or anything else from the BJC curriculum)
  2. MakeCode Tutorials
    Try some of the ones for Version 2 of the micro:bit, if you like. You may find the radio ones interesting
  3. Electrical Circuits (See below)
  4. Something educational with the Hot Wheels car and track
    Here is the Gate Controller, if you want to download it to a micro:bit. Here is the Remote Control.

Electrical Circuits

TinkerCad Circuits

Go to TinkerCad, Start Tinkering, Create an Account (using a Google account is easy). Go to Circuits.

We’ll wire up this circuit together.

Simple LED circuit in TinkerCad

Next, we’ll wire up the circuit using real hardware.

Simple LED circuit

2022-03-11

Computing in the News

Attackers can force Amazon Echos to hack themselves with self-issued commands

6th Grade Seating Changes

Look for homework tonight to collect your input for seating.

Your Choices Today

Same as last time.

2022-03-25

Computing in the News

Teen Suspected by Cyber Researchers of Being Lapsus$ Mastermind

Silly Fun with Relays

Continue with BJC or MakeCode or Tinkercad Circuits

You may also use Circuit Playground Expresses along with MakeCode for Circuit Playground Express

2022-04-01

Computing in the News

Researchers protecting solar technologies from cyberattack

Continue

2022-04-08

Computing in the News

How Kyiv Adapted the City’s Tech to Save Lives

BJC Hardware Unit

New Labs

Read through and see what interests you. What would you like to make?

Please make efficient use of materials. (Don’t waste aluminum foil, for instance.)

2022-04-29

Computing in the News

Japanese rail company rolls out VR-piloted Gundam robot worker

BJC Hardware Unit

New Labs

Microblocks

Microblocks is an alternative to Makecode. One big advantage is that you don’t have to download your programs. Changes get sent immediately to the micro:bit.

2022-05-06

Computing in the News

This High Schooler Invented a Low-Cost, Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm

Microblocks Introduction (Grade 6)

Microblocks is an alternative to Makecode. One big advantage is that you don’t have to download your programs. Changes get sent immediately to the micro:bit.

Use the gear icon to update the firmware on the board. When you get the save dialog, expand it by clicking on the down arrow, then on the left side select the micro:bit drive. Then click on the USB connector icon to connect. Now, changes you make to your code will take effect immediately, without needing a download.

BJC Hardware Unit

You can do these labs in any order.

2022-05-13

Welcome Mrs. Gillette

Computing in the News

Automatic audio loggers successfully used to map the sound of Norway

BJC Hardware Unit

You can do these labs in any order.

Last Day for Grade 8

Please take home your projects (minus the electronics).

2022-05-20

BJC Hardware Unit

Make one or more of the projects.

Pictures and Videos of Your Projects

Parent permission email.

2022-05-27

Computing in the News

New Bluetooth hack can unlock your Tesla—and all kinds of other devices

BJC Hardware Unit

Make one or more of the projects.

Pictures and Videos of Your Projects

Parent permission email.