by Troy Roberts (CRICS teacher)
“Nerds rule the world.”
It’s a jovial motto that I’ve offered to students for years to explain that those who are driven to solve problems using the best tools available will succeed and often lead. In light of this truth, I say the following in the most complimentary way possible: The students of CRICS Computer Science burn brightly with nerd spirit!
CRICS juniors and seniors are applying their drive and love of learning to Computer Science, a brand new CRICS high school course covering content ranging from the inner workings of a computer and computer coding to computational problem solving and team collaboration. I am happy to say that Computer Science has been one of the most intriguing and enjoyable courses I have ever taught, and from the looks on students’ faces, I think it’s fair to say that they are enjoying themselves as well.
Take a peek for yourself:
1. Lava Crossing Algorithm Writing: Students were asked to create an algorithm in pairs that would safely transport the entire team across the “lava river” in the quickest way possible. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu8fsiWpxhs
2. Tic-Tac-Total-Domination: After examining the complexity of Chess playing algorithms, students designed algorithms to never lose and sometimes win at tic-tac-toe. Not as simple as it might sound! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTVAhEUhWnc
3. Cup Stacking & Coding: Complex cup pyramids were shown to a “coder” who invented a code system in spoken word, then shapes, then alphanumeric symbols, and then only directional arrow in a single line. The “coder” used these systems to instruct a “builder” in how to construct the original cup pyramid. The exercise was designed to grow progressively more difficult towards failure, but in the end 4 out of 13 groups successfully completed the final “impossible” challenge! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBJhU XHozcw&feature=youtu.be
One Pyramid (shown below) was built from the following line of code: ^^^^^^v
There are many tools and technologies at our students’ disposal, but nothing on earth compares to the computational and creative power of their own minds. China’s Tianhe-2, the fastest supercomputer in existence, is still 30 times slower than the human brain and is nowhere near the creative prowess of a single CRICS high schooler.
Computer Science is a chance for students to explore advanced problem solving, to marvel at the complex technologies of our modern world, and, at the same time, to wonder in awe at the Maker of life, who made the human mind and the human desire to create as He created us.
Teaching Computer Science has confirmed to me that CRICS students are incredible by virtue of their Maker, their character, and their effort. As the years pass us by, I am confident that nerdy problem solvers will continue to “rule the world”, and I am equally confident that many of the students walking the halls of CRICS will soon be among those great creators, innovators, and problem solvers.