OUCC

 
 
  Turtle Grades

Teach creative programming with Turtle power!

The Turtle Blockly playgrounds, linked to below, can provide a resource for teaching programming concepts in KS1, KS2 and KS3.

Each playground provides a few more tools than the last. This will make moving on to later playgrounds for children simple, intuitive and accessible.

Playground A is for the youngest pupils, those who have never written programs at all and have only ever used a floor robot such as Bee-bot. Programs are written by dragging and linking simple code blocks into the workspace and then pressing Run.

 

Learning scheme

  • Children are given a direct link to the appropriate playground (rather than this index page)
  • Children try challenges selected by their teacher
  • Children get the chance to create their own programs
  • When ready, children try self-marking, can-do, quizzes to see if they can move on to the next level
  • Children get level awards, and teachers get a record of their children's progress

 

The resources

Note that this index is not intended to be given to the children. They should be given links to click on to take them directly to the appropriate playground.

Turtle Playground A
white turtle Direct linkhttps://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=386&t=2a22d0b92f36643c
Purpose of Playground: transfer children from floor robots
Concept Focus: sequence
Teaching resourcesChallenge Cards - A | First Pupil Grade Card | Example First Quiz

Turtle Playground B
white turtleDirect linkhttps://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=387&t=2b429dccf0dc8395
Purpose of Playground: drawing with a turtle robot
Concept Focus: sequence, decomposition
Teaching resourcesChallenge Cards - B | Yellow Shell Grade Card

Turtle Playground C
white turtleDirect linkhttps://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=388&t=0ad6b0a80aaf1950
Purpose of Playground: drawing with loops
Concept Focus: decomposition, iteration, repetition
Teaching resourcesChallenge Cards - C | Orange Shell Grade Card

Turtle Playground D
white turtleDirect linkhttps://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=389&t=216e084c8de4fe8b
Purpose of Playground: introducing text, logic, and variables
Concept Focus: logic, input and output
Teaching resourcesChallenge Cards - D | Green Shell Grade Card

Turtle Playground E
white turtleDirect linkhttps://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=390&t=65be587d03651e87
Purpose of Playground: maths, logic, and variables
Concept Focus: logic, maths, variables
Teaching resources: Challenge Cards - E | Purple Shell Grade Card

Turtle Playground F
white turtleDirect linkhttps://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=391&t=e556c240cf09c955
Purpose of Playground: introduce functions
Concept Focus: abstraction
Teaching resources: Challenge Cards - F1 | Blue Shell Grade Card

Turtle Playground G
white turtleDirect link: https://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=411&t=c8b4127460b09063
Purpose of Playground: introduce simple robotics
Concept Focus: detecting environment, selection
Teaching resourcesChallenge Cards - G | Brown Shell Grade Card

Turtle Playground F
white turtleDirect linkhttps://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=391&t=e556c240cf09c955
Purpose of Playground: introduce simple recursion
Concept Focus: recursion
Teaching resources: Challenge Cards - F2 | Red Shell Grade Card

Turtle Playground H
white turtleDirect linkhttps://oucc.uk/?action=question_standalone&que_id=392&t=4391ca27f89dd6d6
Purpose of Playground: adds full set of Blockly blocks
Concept Focus: advanced programming, datatypes
Teaching resources: Black Shell Grade Card

Oxford Turtle System
Oxford TurtleDirect linkhttps://www.turtle.ox.ac.uk/run
Purpose: introduce text based programming including Python
Concept Focus: see Documentation

 

Downloadable Challenge Cards (more coming soon)

Challenge cards will be available for each playground. The challenge cards can be downloaded from the resources section above, guillotined and laminated.

Notes:

  • Not all pupils have to do all of the challenge cards.
  • Pupils should also be given the opportunity to play and create their own programs and art.

 

Assessments (first four available so far)

Example First Quiz

Teachers need an OUCC teacher account to get access to these. After logging in the assessments can be found in the templates of the Quizzes section in the templates section (after pressing New). Pupils can attempt these whenever their teacher thinks they are ready. If at first they don't succeed they can, of course, try again.

Awards

All children start their journey as White Shell programmers. The most accomplished may become Black Shell programmers. To achieve the next Turtle Shell Grade a pupil must have:

  • Achieved all the preceeding grades.
  • Completed the required number of Challenge Cards defined by the number of boxes in the Challenge Cards section of their Grade Card. (e.g. 8 in the Yellow Shell Turtle Programmer Grade Card, see below)
  • Completed the required number of personal projects defined by the number of boxes in the My own projects section of their Grade Card. (e.g. 3 in the Yellow Shell Turtle Programmer Grade Card)
  • Completed all the I can... statements in the Challenge Card they are currently using. (e.g. 9 in the Yellow Shell Turtle Programmer Grade Card, which includes solving all 4 problems in the Quiz). It is important that the teacher verifies, in some way, that the pupils can do each thing they say they can - if the next grade is to be awarded. (e.g. Pupils who are using the Yellow Shell Turtle Programmer Grade Card are working towards their Orange Shell award.)

Note that the pupils can attempt any of the above tasks as many times as they wish, including the Quiz.

 

Children's Grade Cards (more coming soon)

A progress chart for pupils at each grade is available that they can take with them through their Turtle adventures. In it they record their achievements and the Turtle Programming Grades they have obtained. You can download these from the resources section above.

Example Grade Card:

front back
 
 

FAQs

Why shouldn't I direct my class to this page?
The intended audience of this page is teachers and so children will find it over-complicated. The intention is that young pupils are provided with the cleanest simplest environment possible so Year 1 children, for example, should be given a link on their computer to Playground A. Giving them access to all the resources also takes away your control as a teacher to provide the best learning experience for your pupils. (See the answer to the next question for more on this.)

How long should it take my pupils to achieve each Turtle Shell Award?
The Turtle Playgrounds are a way of providing a progressive backbone of programming techniques and computational thinking skills to pupils in KS1, 2 and 3. They are not intended to be the only programming or Computer Science taught. Some of the concepts in the later Grade Cards are quite difficult and usually reserved for secondary students but they should become accessible for many KS2 pupils because of the use of blocks instead of text-based programming, and because of the limited and familiar context of moving a turtle around a screen. Therefore, an average pupil will probably be awarded one grade each academic year. Nevertheless, enthusiastic children may ask to go faster and the system should enable teachers to manage this, if appropriate.

Do the pupil's own programs need to make use of the new blocks introduced?
No.
Each Grade card has a few spaces for pupils to record when they have made something that they want to make. The pupils' programs will probably get more interesting as they become more skilled programmers but it is purely an opportunity to be creative.

Why are the Challenge cards not linked to on the Playground pages?
If we had made the cards available to the pupils in this way, it would have made the children think they have to do them all. It would take away control from the teacher. It is the author's belief that, although many of the online guided tutorials try and find a learning route for individual children based on what they have done previously, a teacher can do a better job! For example, a teacher can spot when a pupil is getting frustrated or is just not having a great day and, knowing that pupil, they can suggest that they leave a particular challenge, and do a different one, one which they know other children have particularly enjoyed, or suggest the maze challenge, or suggest they carry on with one of their own turtle projects, etc. A teacher might notice another child is finding the challenges easy but does not want to miss out on being awarded a Turtle Grade. The teacher can then guide that child to do the minimum number of challenges necessary to obtain the grade they are working on. Publishing the Challenge Cards to pupils takes away this opportunity from the teacher to provide the best learning experience for her pupils.

Why don't the videos at the bottom of the playgrounds do more teaching / show more examples?
The author believes that the best learnt lessons are those that are discovered by the children themselves. The videos are to introduce how the new code blocks work and might be used. They are not intended to show how to write the programs to solve the Challenge Cards.

Where are the quizzes that I can use with my classes?
These are currently distributed via the Quizzes menu in oucc.uk/admin after logging in. There is a guide, explaining how to use this facility, to be found in the Documents section of the same admin site after logging in. The advantage of doing this is the teacher is in control of when the quizzes are set, they are auto-marked when the quiz is closed, and the results are downloadable for the teachers records. If your school took part in Bebras in 2020 a teacher at your school will already have an account. If not, please email info@oucc.uk to obtain an account.

Why are the challenges produced as cards and not more gamified?
A deliberate choice was made to not turn this into a series of games. So many learning materials online do this that there is a danger that children think Computer Science is only about games. Other subjects ask pupils to learn and the author thinks that we should not be afraid of doing so in Computer Science either. There are a number of hooks in the system that should help pupils develop a love of learning. For example, it is expected that when pupils get a particular grade and are directed to a new playground, the first thing they are going to be excited to do is look through the blocks to find out which new ones they are going to learning about. By not gamifying the system we have made playgrounds that can be used creatively for projects other than just working through the challenge cards. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, by not gamifying the system it is hoped that children will learn that there is more than one solution to many tasks.

What are the Maze Puzzles for?
There is one Maze puzzle at the bottom of each playground. These are intended to be a fun change of activities for the children. They also make sure that the children are used to the slightly different blocks used in mazes because, in the earlier playgrounds, maze based questions are the most effective way of assessing skills in the quizzes. The maze puzzles also sneak in some Computational Thinking practice for the children.

 

Credits

Turtle Playgrounds author and designer: Chris Roffey
Programmer: Dave Oostendorp
Hosting: The Cuttle Platform
Sponsors: Eljakim IT and Cuttle bv


[ tutorials | terms | privacy | info@oucc.uk ]


UKCT Challenges are proud to use The Cuttle Platform to host our challenges.
The Cuttle system can be used for maths and science competitions, entrance exams or employee exams.