Learning programming from blocks

Introductory level programming (CSCI250) students begin programming using simple blocks. According to Professor Johnson, the blocks have several of the hallmarks of computer programs including:

  • a limited vocabulary, they can be placed horizontally, vertically, or flat,
  • infinite expressiveness,
  • and repeating structures.

Most importantly, according to Johnson everyone can stack blocks, and everyone can program computers. What’s more, most people have fun doing it!

The challenge was to make the highest tower possible with 25 blocks.

A student cautions Johnson on proper measuring technique. These structures can fall over easily

.

Students ponder the arithmetic of creating a higher tower. Limited to 25 blocks, students had to make efficient use of every block.

The blocks have to be stacked oh so carefully to avoid having the entire structure fall to the ground.

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