Tie And Jeans

Makers, Week 2 Outline

Once again, I’m posting my bulk email to the Makers class here. This is mainly for my record keeping, but I welcome any conversation about the material, especially from other dedicated Scratch teachers.


Hey Makers-

For the start of this week, let’s try laying a few different challenges out on the table. As with everything in Makers, you can approach these as something to tinker with by yourself or with a group, or back and forth between the two. This isn’t a competition between teams, but a challenge to make awesome stuff. Any work that pushes us towards more awesome counts as a win.


Extend the “drive train” of the carousel automata. C_2 alread won (yay!) the find-a-flaw challenge by doubling and tripling the length of the main axel. What we’re looking for now is ways to transfer the power that can cope with different physical constraints, like different turns, rotations and elevations.


This one might take a while. Same eight P&tB messages, sent between the 4th floor stairwell (by English) and the 1st floor. This means that the both locations need to be able to send and receive. If an observer standing inside the 3rd floor hallway can write down the message, then it counts as intercepted.

That’s my way of saying that yelling really loud is right out.


aka “Oh, I wanted a different house.”

The LOGO houses were awesome. If you’re looking for some “why?” to that project, consider this a challenge: How long would it take you to make the same house with four windows (ie. clearly 2 floors)? How about changing it into a set of 4 row-houses (door with a single window above, but all stacked together)?

Drawing a house is a nice start, but if all your work is in one giant stack, then changing the shape or scale of the house essentially means building it all over again from Move/Turn blocks. If you compartmentalize different parts of the house with broadcasts for primitives like sq100, sq25, and others for structures like window or door, then it’s a lot easier to plan out and make the necessary changes.

This is the step that I glossed over in my enthusiasm for BYOB/Snap! It’s really difficult to think about a program that will draw a house at any scale unless you’ve separated out how to draw each part.


Because Scratch is awesome, here’s an extra.

As soon as anyone draws a square in LOGO, they love to repeat that action over and over and over. If you put a little TURN in there, you’ll get the classic square-flower (does it have a real name?)

Your art-challenge is to create a program that makes a recognizable piece of art, but one that’s slightly different each time you run it. Look for some examples here or here.  Here’s my short, very INCOMPLETE, list of things you can modify while drawing:

Pen Thickness
Pen Color
Pen Shade
Turn (degrees)
Steps (segment length)
absolute position (go to x: y: )
Anything that uses a number can also take another numeric value as input. So you could could Move (Pen Thickness) Steps, or Turn (Y position) Degrees.

Randomness can help, but randomness by itself rarely produces art.



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