Introduction to Alice: The Jumping Frog

Objectives:
Students will identify and use methods in programming movements for 3D objects in Alice.
Students will create a list of new methods for an Alice object

Concepts:
Class
Object
Methods

Materials:
Computer for each student with Alice installed
Internet access

Description of Alice:

Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience.  (From http://www.alice.org)

Alice is like Scratch for a 3 Dimensional World.  In Scratch we assembled scriptes to control movement and costumes for Sprites.  In Alice we work with characters called Classes and Objects.  The programmer puts together strings of commands to create "Methods."  These methods make the objects move about the world. 

A significant difference between Alice and Scratch lies in the nature of Sprites vs. Objects.  An object in Alice can have multiple parts or sections. 

Example:

Object
Parts of the object
Skateboard: 
Board
Front Axel
Left Front Wheel
Right Front Wheel
Back Axel
Left Back Wheel
Left Right Wheel
Chicken
Body
Left Leg
Left Foot
Right Leg
Right Foot
Neck
Head

Each component of the Class can have scripts that make it move through 3 Dimensional space.

Wait, there's more!!!  In Alice, the programmer also controls the light and the camera.  The light and camera are also objects with their own methods.


Activity #1: Ice and Frogs


1. Open Alice on Your Computer.

2. Click on the Tutorial Tab and do the "Ice Skater" Tutorial1



3. We will now use some pre-defined methods to make a Frog object move in Alice. After completing the Tutorial1, download and save the following linked file to your directory:

Frog Sample

4.  Our frog has several pre-defined Methods:



5. To make the frog jump foward, drag the "Jump_Forward" method block into the the "world.my first method" pane.  Click "Play" to see your frog jump foward.



6.  Here is a sample of a short animation showing the Frog jumping in the water.  (Use right click and open in a new tab or window.) Note the camera following the frog:

Mr. Michaud's Frog Video

7. Just for fun, here is a more complicated example with multiple objects.

Chicken Race!


Assignment #1:

There are two parts to Assignment #1:

  • Creating a Frog moving program
  • Making a list of methods for a new Class (Object)

1. Jumping Frogs:

1. Using the Frog Sample file, combine the Frog methods to make the frog jump forward into the water.  You may string methods together to create longer sequences of activity.
2. For a Bonus: Make the Frog jump in a circle around the island.
3. For even more of a bonus: Create your own methods to have the frog wave, nod, spin, or any other action.
4. Save the template file as "You_Name_Frog_Assignment1" in your directory.



2. Preperation for Assignment #2:

1. Create a new Alice File
2. Click on green "Add Objects" and select a new character (called a "class") that you want to animate.
3. Import your character (class).
4. On a text document, make a list of all the possible methods you will need to create to have your character move about the screen.

Examples:
Walk:
->Left Leg Turn Up
->Left Leg Turn Down
->Right Leg Turn Up
->Right Leg Turn Down
Wave
Nod
Jump
Turn
Duck
 . . . . .




Assessment:

Needs Improvement: No Alice file created with Frog movements. No text document with list of methods for Assignment #2

Satisfactory: Alice Frog file created with frog doing sequence of methods.  Text document created with list of methods for Assignment #2

Exceeds:  Alice Frog file has mutiple new methods and movements.  Detailed list of methods in text file for Assignment #2.