Coding Christmas

From Google check their Made With Code initiative. Note that Google’s Blockly is being used for the code.

I agree with Simon Singh’s sentiments that Coding / Computing should be a separate and optional GCSE; I think using resources such as Scratch we can illustrate some concepts well and help students understand them; polygons and angles is a particularly good example of this and one I have written on before.

For some rather more advanced coding, there’s a rather nice Christmas tree generator here; select Auto Generate and sit back and admire the tree! Note that for any Scratch project you can ‘look inside’ and see the coding – a good way to learn more syntax.

Scratch project by vidarfw02

Scratch project by vidarfw02

See Christmas Resources for the always updated Christmas collection.

Transum – Christmas Activities


Robocompass - simple demonstration

Robocompass – simple demonstration

Draw geometric constructions using the very attractive interface that is Robocompass.

demo commands

Robocompass is easy to use, simply type in commands. Select How to for a list of supported commands. Robocompass How To

Select the triangle image to go directly to the Robocompass file. Selecting play allows you to easily see each step. Note that you can select the page to rotate it in any direction.

Robocompass - play

Note that you can also look at individual steps,

demo 2

easily change colour or play speed:
demo 3

Reflection example

Robocompass – Reflection example

Experimenting with Robocompass made me realise that it can provide rather good demonstrations for transformations; see the above example (select the image for the file). Having set this up it is easy to change the line MN:

Reflection example 2

Or we could try a rotation.
rotation example




examplesLearn more about Robocompass by following their blog and/or follow Robocompass on Twitter.

You can learn how to use Robocompass by studying examples; note the given examples or perhaps have a look at this on a Pythagoras proof.





Scratch, from MIT is object-oriented programming language which is very easy to get started with as there is now a new release of the platform availble entirely in a browser; no program downloads are required. The interface is intuitive and easy to use; extensive help is available including a very clear Getting Started Guide and a set of Scratch Cards with clear instructions which will help you learn new Scratch code. Note the Scratch For Educators section.

As you can see from the sprite’s path the above program continues as follows:

Scratch square part 2

Now that’s not a very efficient program! Scratch is a great way to learn programming as well as doing some Maths! We could look at external angles of polygons for example and show how to repeat a set of instructions.

Polygons - external angles

Scratch – drawing an octagon

We could add some sound, change the pen colour or shade, learn about variables and generally have some fun!

Scratch Hmm...

Polygons - external angles version 3

Click the image then ‘See Inside’ at the top of the screen.

Try experimenting with this program which uses variables for the number of lines to draw and the angle to turn through. You will need to sign up to Scratch which is very easy and free.

It strikes me that Scratch could be used for many topics, bearings included.

Stephen Quinn’s dissertation is an investigation into using Scratch to teach KS3 Mathematics and has many ideas as well as useful information on Scratch.

Apps: Scratch Junior for iPad (for young children age 5 to 7)