Lesson Eight

In Lesson Eight you will learn about collecting data and algorithms, and you will also do a Scratch project.

Collecting Data

To grow the biggest pumpkins, you need to let the plant focus on growing one or two pumpkins. To do this, you need to carefully remove any smaller fruit. If your pumpkin plant has started to fruit, measure the circumference of each of the fruit and make a note of the measurements. If you don’t have any pumpkins growing just yet, use the example data below for the next exercise.


Sorting Algorithms

To know which fruit to keep and which to prune, you need to be able to identify which pumpkins are the biggest! As humans, we can look at a group of numbers and see which is the biggest. Computers don’t work in the same way that our brains do – they need to follow a set of rules to be able to turn data sets, such as pumpkin size, into information.

A ‘sorting network’ is one way the computer can tell which pumpkin is the biggest. It’s a type of algorithm that computers use to get information about a set of data. Using a template and some counters, you’re going to run through the algorithm to find our which is your largest pumpkin. Follow these instructions:

  • Copy the template into your books, draw in chalk in the playground, or print out the printable template.

  • Write your measurements on the printable counters and place each counter on a circle at the bottom of the template. Remember, if you don’t have your own measurements you can use our pumpkin data above!

  • Following the arrows, move each counter to the first purple box.

  • Compare the two numbers in each purple box. Which one is the biggest?

  • Move the bigger number along the red line to the next purple box.

  • Move the smaller number along the blue line to the next purple box.

  • Keep going until all your counters/numbers are on a green circle at the top.

  • Are your numbers in the correct order from smallest to largest?

Sorting Network (None (Blank - Useful as template) - a4)_1-1-page-001.jpg

Summer plan

During the summer months, the temperatures in your garden can soar. Giant pumpkins need a lot of water and shade to help them grow really big! As a class, come up with a plan to protect and water your pumpkins. Think about

  • Do we need to provide shade and how can we do this?

  • How will we know when the plants need watering?

  • Who will water the plants?

Scratch project

Open the Scratch pumpkin project and these project instructions for Scratch 2.0 or these project instructions for Scratch 3.0. Follow the instructions to create a game where you have to water the pumpkin to make it grow!