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Although kids may benefit from working through the sections as teacher-guided lessons and testing out the code examples, educators could also use the lessons as reading assignments to help kids learn about programming. Both kids and teachers can find additional help and inspiration by checking out other users’ completed programs on the website and posing questions to the community. The site and corresponding application can help kids strengthen other skills, including critical thinking, logic, and using sequential order to give instruction and complete tasks.
Editor's Note: Hackety Hack is no longer available.
Hackety Hack is a downloadable application that provides basic instruction to help kids learn the Ruby programming language. The application and site both offer four programming lessons for teachers to share or have kids review individually. Older middle school kids and high schoolers new to programming would benefit from the tools' general programming tips and basic instructions on types of coding. Students read what steps to take and then test them out by copying and pasting examples from the text. In order to post questions and share programs on the website, students will need to register. Kids probably won't be able to create their own website after using Hackety Hack, but the information they learn can help them understand a bit about programming.
Students should start with an application tour, as the app lesson list suggests, or the basic programming info section since some of the structure and term information is mentioned in other lessons. (The website's lesson section suggests looking at Ruby info first, but that wouldn't be as helpful.) Kids should then be able to move on to learning about Ruby programming and Shoes, which is an advanced toolkit that helps kids build graphic user interface (GUI) items, such as a website button or including a photo on a page.
Overall, the site is structured and written in a way that's easy to understand. Step by step, kids learn how to write a few types of simple code. A casual, conversational tone directly addresses them with detailed directions. Kids get hands-on instruction by copying the examples, pasting them into the application window, and testing the result. Summaries at the end of each lesson recap what kids learned.
Key Standards Supported
Understand that a function is a rule that assigns to each input exactly one output. The graph of a function is the set of ordered pairs consisting of an input and the corresponding output.1
Draw (freehand, with ruler and protractor, and with technology) geometric shapes with given conditions. Focus on constructing triangles from three measures of angles or sides, noticing when the conditions determine a unique triangle, more than one triangle, or no triangle.
Graph functions expressed symbolically and show key features of the graph, by hand in simple cases and using technology for more complicated cases.
Write a function defined by an expression in different but equivalent forms to reveal and explain different properties of the function.
Key Standards Supported
Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.
Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.
Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words.
Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.
Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.