Lesson 1: Getting Started with Turtle Graphics - Instructor's Notes

This page contains some tips and suggestions for the instructor when presenting the first lesson.

Lesson Goals

The goal of this lesson is for the children to learn the following:

  1. The turtle follows your instructions and only your instructions. The turtle draws a line wherever it walks.
  2. FORWARD (or FD) makes the turtle go forward.
  3. RIGHT (or RT) makes the turtle turn in place. The number that follows it is in degrees. There are 90 degrees in a quarter-turn.
  4. You can teach the turtle new commands by using the built-in ones.

Formal Presentation

Before the children sit down at a computer, give them an overview of what they will be doing, including an overview of the "lesson goals" that are listed above.

You can introduce the turtle by pretending to be one. Tell the kids that you want to walk in a square, but you only understand the instructions "FORWARD" and "RIGHT" and let them give you instructions to walk in a square. If you have two instructors, one should be the turtle and the the other should explain what's going on, give the children hints when they get stuck, and shout out instructions when the turtle gets stuck.

Whomever is acting as the turtle should try to behave like the real turtle. Specifically:

The goal of this exercise is NOT to walk in a square--the children can draw a square when they get to their computers. The goal is let the children learn the following facts in friendly environment.

  1. The turtle only know a few simple commands.
  2. The turtle does what you tell it to do, even if that's not what you want.
  3. Commands take arguments.

In other words, you don't have to keep going until you draw a square, just until you think the children have learned enough to be able to draw a square when you get to the computer.

At The Computer

When the children sit down at the computer tell them to open up their Web browser to http://fmslogo.sourceforge.net/workshop and click on "Lesson 1: Getting Started". They won't read the lesson, but the pictures and code snippets will help guide them along.

Next, tell them to start Logo and show them all where to type commands. Then have them start working their way through the lesson.

If you have a blackboard that everyone can see from the computer, you can write a few instructions on it:

FD 100
BK 100
RT 90
LT 90
REPEAT 3 [ FD 100 RT 120 ]

This is just to remind the children of what instructions are available. A full handout with the description of each command shouldn't be necessary--that's what the Web site is for.