Tuesday, January 17, 2006

TinyLogo

TinyLogo is the Palm version of Logo. If you have never used Logo, it is essentially a very easy to use programming language in which you can program a "turtle" to move around a screen /or draw images. In terms of math application, this is a great tool for reinforcing concepts regarding distance, angles, and perimeter. It is also a wonderful way to teach critical thinking and problem solving.

There is an overview, easy to use online beginners guide, and even an advanced guide. In the beginners guide, you will want to be sure to look at two sections in particular: About Turtle Graphics and Extending TinyLogo with Your Own Procedures One of the really powerful things that students can do is to create their own procedures (or subroutines for those of you who haave programmed in the past!). These procedures can be saved (they end up saved as Memos) and reused. Students can also write procedures in Memos and then use them in TinyLogo.

TinyLogo can be used with students in elementary through high school. The next step, once your high school or bright middle school students have mastered TinyLogo, is to have them take a look at 0L Systems by Brian Schau. This "is a simple implementation of a 0L System renderer. An 0L System, or more formally a L System, is a string rewriting system which produce a long string to be interpreted as commands for a LOGO turtle." Have your students read the instructions and try to figure out how this works and to create their own set of instructions. The download and user manual are both included at the link above.

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