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First Week Activity


Ever wish you had a set of activities for the first week of school to excite your students early on? There is a wonderful set of exercises that can be found at http://introcomputing.org/. These exercises were created by Nick Parlante based on his Stanford CS101 course.

These exercises work very well in introductory programming courses. Very little lecture time is needed as the exercises are written in a self-guided, interactive format.

My students most enjoy the “Digital Images” section. Here, students are guided through exercises where the ultimate product is a photo of the student superimposed onto another photo, using “bluescreen” techniques.

For example, given a photo of a stop sign and a photo of leaves, if all the red pixels in the photo of the stop sign are replaced with the corresponding pixels in the photo of leaves, the result is a stop sign made up of leaves.

This technique can be used to “superimpose” pictures of your students onto a variety of other pictures. I get a large sheet of blue paper from my school’s supply room and take each of my student’s pictures standing in front of the blue paper. The students then search the web for pictures they would like to insert themselves into. That’s where the fun begins. One of my students wrote a travelogue, showing all the countries he “visited” over the summer.

My students found it helpful to have all the commands on one summary page, so I’ve summarized the commands in the “Digital Images” section in a document that can be found here: http://goo.gl/LY4lpQ/

Have fun!

Evelyn Torres-Rangel
CSTA Board of Directors

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