Spooky Halloween Programs

The Activities

  1.  Topic: Addition, Subtraction, Equations: Book: Ready, Set, Hop! by Murphy.
  2. Topic: Programming, Functions:
    The functions:
    Scream {
    ___Print “B”
    ___Do 2 times {
    ______Print “O”
    ___Print “!”
    Ghost (Box_X) {
    ___Print “I saw”
    ___Print Box_X
    ___Print “ghosts!”
    AfraidOf(Box_X, Box_Y) {
    ___Print Box_X
    ___Print “ is afraid of “
    ___Print Box_Y

    The programs:

    Print “Lisa shouted”
    Do 4 times {
    Ghost(799) Print “Siddarth said”
    Print “Rachel said”
    Print “Elsa said”
    AfraidOf(“Lyle”, “zombies”) AfraidOf(“Carol”, “fairies”)
    AfraidOf(“Witch”, “Lucy”) Print “Corey said”
    Print “The ghost said”
    AfraidOf(“Corey”, “ghosts”)
  3. Topic: Maps, Spatial Reasoning, Logic:Fill in a map of a treat-or-treating neighborhood based on the following clues.
    1. Each house is the same shape and size as your house.
    2. Directly to the West of your house is the Witch’s house.
    3. The Zombie house is 2 houses West of the Witch’s house.
    4. Olaf’s house is across the street from the Zombie’s house.
    5. Elsa’s house is directly South of the Witch’s house.
    6. The pumpkin house is directly East of your house.
    7. The Spider house is on the very West end of the South side of the street.
    8. The Butterfly is scared of the Spider. The Butterfly’s house is on the same side of the street as the Spider’s, but as far away as possible.
    9. The Goblin is between the Zombie and the Witch.
    10. The skeleton is directly across the street from the Spider.
    11. Next to Elsa’s house is a Graveyard that takes up two houses.
    12. The Ladybug’s house is right next to the Butterfly’s.
    13. The Fairy can fly right across the street to the Ladybug’s house.
    14. The Wizard’s house is East of the Fairy’s.
    15. Anna’s house is next to Elsa’s house.

      The empty neighborhood map.

      4. Topic: Estimating: How many of various objects fit inside a small skeleton bucket?  One of the items were Smarties candies, and the closest kid got 5 Smarties, and the other got 4.

      The estimating skulls.

      How did it go?

We had 5 kids at circle this week. We did Halloween-themed math.  Everyone was excited to get a (tiny) candy treat at the end.

Programming with Functions

This went really well this week.  Everyone loved the Halloween-themed programs, and again they loved having their names in the programs.

Yesterday we bought a laminator and laminated our programming worksheet, so the kids could erase their programs when they finished.  The kids all enjoyed using dry-erase markers to trace their programs.

The was a slight drama at the beginning because four kids all wanted a green marker, but we only had two.  So I took away both green markers.  The kids moved on quickly and chose new markers.

The first program was:

Print “Lisa shouted”

I asked the kids if they knew the command ‘Scream’ and they said no.  So I got out the sheet with the 3 function definitions and we all looked at the commands for scream.  The kids all successfully traced through ‘Scream’.  2 kids did it on their own.  The other 3 got it after I helped them.

The next few programs involved the Scream function, and everyone understood it easily.  Kid A loved predicting what the output would be, like shouting “Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo!” for

Do 4 times {

Kid B started to write ‘Scream’ a few times, but I reminded her that she needed to do the commands in the Scream function instead.

Next I gave the kids:

Everyone wondered what the 799 meant.  We looked at the definition of the Ghost funciton, and I showed them how it tells them to put 799 in Box_X.  The kids did this, and then were able to complete the steps in Ghost.

When we got to
Print “Luke said”

several of the kids were unsure whether it was legal to put “scary” in Box_X, but I assured them that was right.

Next was:
AfraidOf(“Sanjay”, “zombies”)

The kids were all excited by the word “zombies”.  I asked if they knew how to do this program.  I explained that AfraidOf tells you where to put each word.  The first should go in Box_X and the second in Box_Y.  After the kids assigned the variables, they had no trouble finishing AfraidOf.

Kid B several times still made the mistake of writing “AfraidOf” instead of following the steps in Afraid of.

The next program was:
AfraidOf(“Witch”, “Lyle”)

I think every kid got tricked and put Lyle in Box_X, instead of Witch, but I said again that the first word has to go in Box_X so they fixed it.  They all thought this was a funny program.

Finally I gave them the big program:

Print “Corey said”
Ghost (20)
Print “The ghost said”
AfraidOf(“Corey”, “ghosts”)

3 kids did this completely independently.  One kid needed a tiny bit of help.  The fifth kid needed a bit more, because she kept forgetting which line to go to in the main program after finishing a function.  So I held my finger in the main program to help keep track.

Kid C was extremely efficient at these programs.  She didn’t mess around at all, and was obviously working hard to try to finish first every time.  Kid A did quite well.  Kid D understood it all, but somehow took longer to trace through than other kids.  Kid B and Kid E needed a bit of one-on-one help to complete some of the programs.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the programs, and were excited to see what came next.

My daughter at work on the hardest program.

My daughter’s finished program.

Trick-or-Treat Maps

I gave everyone a map with a street and one house on it.  Then I started reading the clues.  At first the kids didn’t understand that the houses had to be right next to each other, but once they understood that, they were pretty good at drawing 4×4 squares on graph paper.  Kid Aunderstood every clue right away, and again worked hard to be first on each.  She would quickly draw her house, and then ask me how to spell the name.

The other 4 kids started to embellish their houses, drawing a pumpkin on top of the pumpkin house, for example.  Kid B had some trouble understanding the difference between “across the street” and “at the other end of the street”.

The clue “The zombie house is 2 houses West of the Witch’s house” was a bit tricky because they didn’t know whether to leave 2 empty houses or 1 one empty house.

The trickiest clue was “Next to Elsa’s house is a Graveyard that takes up two houses.” Kid A immediately realized that only one side of Elsa’s house had space for the graveyard.  Kid B started to say that she didn’t know which side of Elsa’s house to put the graveyard on, but then she noticed suddenly that it would only fit in one place.

One kid’s finished map.


First we did the blue glass beads. The kids guesses ranged from 15 – 20.  Then Kid A peeked at my answer sheet and announced that the top two numbers were 38 and 30.  Kid B changed her guess to 38, and Kid C guessed 30.  So I skipped the yellow acorns which had 30 inside.

Next I brought out the paper clips.  The kids guessed between 40 and 100, but the answer was 204.

Finally I brought out the Smarties, and told them the winner gets an extra piece.  The guesses were between 100 and 598.  The answer was 160, and the closest kid was Kid B who was 66 off.


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