Ditch the worksheet
What happens when you take one step, turn one degree, take one step, turn one degree, and continue the trend a total of 360 times? Of course, you will walk in a circle. Or, you walk along a 360-sided shape with each side measuring one step. The perimeter (or circumference, since it is technically a circle) is 360 steps. You can split this shape into 360 congruent triangles with angles measuring 1º, 89.5º and 89.5º degrees.
This may not be new to you, and you may have an easy time understanding the above description and imaging the process and shapes I’m describing. However, if these ideas are new to you, you may have a difficult time creating a mental image of what’s being described. Asking learners to imagine things rather than showing them things can stress them if they are not familiar, or if they lack confidence.
Luckily, nobody has to rely solely on imagination. We can replicate this process using Scratch — a simple, fun, powerful programming language developed by the MIT Media Lab. Using Scratch, we can carry out the process of ‘walking’ in a circle and explore what happens when we change things up. We can see the shapes generated and very quickly experiment with different numbers. Scratch’s block-based design (sort of like putting together LEGO blocks) makes it really easy to generate one shape after another