Computational Problem Solving with Plethora (Nov 4, 15:30 – 17:30)
Judith Gal-Ezer, Michal Armoni, Michal Haskel-Ittah, Rami Marelly and Smadar Szekely
Organizer: Judith Gal-Ezer (Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, The Open University of Israel)
Plethora is an online game-based educational platform for learning the concepts and skills of computational problem solving, by providing students with challenges to solve. A challenge is essentially a system with an initial state and a goal. The students have to reach the goal by completing the partial rules provided as part of the challenge and watch how they affect the system. The rules are presented visually and are independent of a specific programming language syntax. In addition to solving challenges, students can invent and create their own challenges and share them with their friends. With over 200,000 users and a strong scientific basis of the underlying visual language, we believe Plethora is also appropriate for creating computational models of scientific phenomena.
In this workshop, we will share our approach regarding computational problem solving and demonstrate how it is implemented with Plethora. We will also discuss and demonstrate how computational problem-solving skills can be used for developing, experiencing and discussing computational models of scientific phenomena using Plethora for Science.
1. Introduction (20 min)
a. Computational Problem Solving and Computational Thinking
b. Plethora for Computational Problem Solving
c. Plethora for Science
2. Interactive demo of Plethora for Computational Problem Solving (45 min)
3. Interactive demo of Plethora for Science (15 min)
4. Open Discussion (40 min)
Invited Workshop: Recognizing Algorithms in Bebras Tasks (Nov 5, 10:00 – 11:00)
Organizer: Jacqueline Nijenhuis-Voogt (Radboud University & GSG Guido, the Netherlands)
Teaching students how to apply existing solutions to new algorithmic problems is one of the purposes of algorithmic thinking lessons in secondary education.
In our research, we developed a card sorting activity to examine how students recognize which (standard) algorithms they can use in new situations. The activity is based on Bebras tasks and was applied after a lesson series on algorithms. It can be used as a research instrument (to analyze students’ transfer of knowledge), but also as a learning activity in class (to practice students’ algorithmic thinking).
In this workshop, we will first introduce the card sorting task and the algorithms taught. We will then break out in groups, so that participants get a ‘hands-on’ experience of this learning activity and can discuss whether such a task would be useful for their own lessons or research. At the end of the workshop, we will discuss the outcomes of the groups and present the conclusions of the research in which this card sorting task was applied.
Maximum number of participants: 30