Computer Science Principles students Colin Clark, Ethan French, and Elijah Stamm wanted to create a game that was both fun and incorporated one of their other PLTW teachers.
Space In Perrel – the game the students designed as part of the course’s Lesson 1.1 Algorithms and Agile Development – features David Perrel, another teacher at Anderson High School in Anderson, Indiana.
“Mr. Perrel is a well-liked teacher who also teaches physics, so they came up with the concept of him restoring physics to the universe,” says Joshua Dillard, the students’ Computer Science Principles teacher. Dillard also teaches Computer Science Essentials, Introduction to Engineering Design, and biology.
The one-player Andriod app, developed utilizing Scratch, block programming, and the students’ knowledge of abstraction, is similar to the ’80s Galaga game and incorporates hand-eye coordination to complete tasks.
The course prepared the students with the skills needed to develop the game by providing learning concepts that built on each other and allowing students to employ their skills to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts, Dillard says.
In addition, they learned some valuable skills in the process.
“Students gained many attributes from the project, like their newfound knowledge of scrum, and how many companies in the world utilize methods such as this to accomplish big tasks that can seem overwhelming,” he says. “By breaking down tasks, students are able to work in smaller teams or sprint to accomplish the task, ultimately culminating in the overall project.”
He added, “As more of our everyday world embraces new technology, students need to be exposed to learning concepts that will help them embrace their futures. Even beyond coding, students can apply these same concepts to real-life situations to accomplish tasks.”
Their game – and the students’ creativity, hard work, and ambition – earned some local press coverage as well.
“The students thought it was really cool and exciting to be featured in our local paper,” Dillard says. “I really was proud of them and our program!”
In addition to Computer Science Principles, Anderson High School offers Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science Essentials, and is in the process of implementing Cybersecurity.
“By providing students with PLTW, students are exposed to things beyond the classroom and can connect concepts taught with real-life, authentic learning they will actually use in their careers,” Dillard says.