Micro Challenge #3 – Programming an activity planner

9 April 2020 - 3 minute read

Welcome to the third of Altitude Foundation’s #MicroChallenges2020

 In our third challenge, you will use conditional statements to create multiple outputs – and make a weekend activity planner!

What’s a Micro Challenge?

These challenges are short activities to help you develop, revise or refresh your coding skills, posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (although we’re posting this challenge a day early in light of the bank holiday).

Micro Challenge #3

For our slightly longer Friday challenge, we’re going to expand on our sequencing skills (and explore probability!) by using conditional statements to create multiple outputs – and possibly creating a weekend activity planner! 

This is another challenge that uses a paper fortune teller as its ‘computer’, so check out yesterday’s challenge to find out how to make one.

Conditional Statements:

Conditional statements are sometimes called ‘if/then’ statements, so for example:

  • IF P1=rock AND P2=paper THEN P2=winner!
  • IF P1=rock AND P3=scissors THEN P1=winner!
  • IF P2=paper AND P3=scissors THEN P3=winner!

However, we could also write the last line as:

  • ELSE P3=winner

We can do this because if we’ve already described the other two outcomes, there is only one outcome left – and so we don’t have to describe the process leading to the outcome. 

The Challenge:

The fortune teller is a useful tool for exploring conditionals in a number of ways. You can use it to tell stories, plan revision, or decide on chores. There are a number of routes to each outcome which can be written up as conditionals, for example:

  • IF purple and two THEN ‘doing the washing up’
  • IF purple and four THEN ‘make a family member a cup of tea’

This weekend, we would like you to create fortune tellers and write up the conditionals which generate each outcome. Think about what comes first; this is important for the fortune teller model, because your combinations will always start on the outer layer.

Bonus: You can create a micro:bit version of the outcome generator. Using their tutorial for Rock/Paper/Scissor micro:bit code, could you adapt this to your purpose?

Review it

Once you’ve completed the challenge, review it:

— How many possible routes are there to the same output? Why might this be?

— If you did yesterday’s challenge, contrast the two programmes: what are the differences between the codes?

— In what other circumstances might you use conditionals?

Share it

We would love to see what you have created! Please send any pictures, videos, or files of your activities to us – either via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram  using #MicroChallenges2020 or to challenges@altitudefoundation.org. If you are emailing them to us, please let us know if you are happy for us to share your stuff on our social media platforms (with credit, of course). 

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