Technology

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

Coding Beauty: Creating Procedural Art

What art would a robot create?

My favorite method of productive procrastination is either coding or art. A few years ago, I put the two together.

What does it look like when you let a robot start making art? To find out, I write a few simple algorithms. Then I let the code pick random parameters, I hit enter, and out comes art that has never been seen before.

The question I’m always asking is: why do we find certain things beautiful or appealing or interesting? Is it based on pattern recognition or something more?

You can see my experiments here. Keep in mind, when you click on one of these little robotic art projects, you will be getting a piece of art custom made for you. They are randomly generated. You might like it. If you don’t, click again. Ask yourself why you find one thing better than another. Right now there are 86 different algorithms to choose from.

Some of my favorites: Yarrow, Tree, Swoosh, Snowflake, and Moiré Petals.

I write in these in PHP. Sometimes I’ll use Javascript or the Processing library as well, which allow animation as well (you’ll find those experiments on Instagram).


Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

I Have… Who Has? Algebraic Match Game

I Have, Who Has?

I’m not sure who invented the game “I Have, Who Has?” but it’s a great one. The idea is that every student has a card with something on it and a question for the class. Once the question is asked, someone in the class will have the card with the answer and respond. Then they’ll pose another question to the class.

One way you can use it is with translation into algebraic expressions. The catch is you have to make a bunch of cards, and that’s time consuming. So why not have the computer do it for you?

Make Your Own!

I programmed this “I Have, Who Has?” card generator. There are a few options built in but let me know if you think of any more that are needed!


Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Follow the Number: Generate Your Own!

Follow the Number

Years ago I played a game with some other teachers called “I Have, Who Has?” The gist of it is to mentally follow along as each person in the room described an algebraic expression, and you had to see if the card you were holding was the one they were describing.

When I wanted to find a fun way for my students to practice arithmetic operations that game was still in the back of my head. And thus “Follow the Number” was born!

I’m sure this game must exist in some other form by some other name. Either way, the obstacle is that you are either having to reinvent a series of cards or recycle the same ones. So why not have a computer generate it for you?

Create Your Own “Follow the Number”!

That’s exactly what I did. Now it’s our Monday morning warmup game. You can try “Follow the Number” for yourself here. You’ll need to print 3 or 4 sheets for each class, and a paper cutter helps. I’m hoping someone at the 1st or 2nd grade level can try this and let me know how it goes (I’ve used it for 6th through 12th grades).



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