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Complete starter lesson for the Small Basic Calculator Apps math challenge for classrooms, all over the world.
a challenge for classrooms around the world.
Program math formulas with Small Basic.
Hour of Code™
“The 'Hour of Code™' is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.”
About Calculator Apps project
This is a customized snack course for teachers and students of elementary and secondary schools worldwide, as part of the sustainable development project for quality education via global goals; for those who are new to computer programming and would love to have a starter pack to inspire them.
Also, teachers who find it difficult to introduce computer programming in their classrooms, especially to ages 8 and 15 students will find it helpful to use, as a Kickstarter into explaining the rudiments of coding to these categories of young children.
Small Basic is the sample programming language throughout this course due to it’s simplicity.
It would be very difficult to introduce majority of young students into computer programming no matter how easy it is, without first creating a background check on Algorithms and how our day to day living depends on them.
At interval you will meet my sidekick on Small Basic, his name is Wazobi, a stick figure that will take you through the course via animated videos.
Discussion forums on Facebook and Twitter:
Details about Calculator Apps project at:
Download link for Small Basic:
Download .NET 4.6 to install Small Basic:
Installation tips for Teachers:
First download and Install .NET ver 4.6 and above setup file.
Before downloading and installing Small Basic setup file.
If you have multiple computer systems to install both setup files:
Copy both files from the download folder into a new folder.
Rename the new folder and copy it into an external storage (Flash drive etc)
Switch on all computer you would need to install both setup files.
Copy and paste the setup folder containing files on each PC.
Then begin installation.
Name of Lesson: Algorithms
Students that can solve basic math of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.
Instructor: Ashiedu Jude
Overview/Purpose: To enable learners understand Algorithms and how we create them on daily basis.
Subject of Lesson:
Definition and uses of Algorithms in day to day activities.
Algorithms in relation to mathematics.
Algorithms in relation math exercises.
* Photos and video about algorithm.
A foot ball
Food menu and recipe on cards
Short essay in English language and a Foreign language .
Learners can create simple algorithms from math formulas.
Learners can automate an algorithm with conditional events.
* List short details of your activities in the last one hour.
* List short details of your activities in the last 24 hours
* Write an algorithm to add up five numbers.
* Write an algorithm to add up two numbers and divide them by a single number.
Humans work with algorithms everyday unconsciously. This is how we live and this is also how things get done from your to-do list to your shopping lists.
The algorithm of an average student’s life is as simple as:
This can be expanded into details by breaking down each step further into mini algorithms like a table of contents.
An Algorithm is simply a list of processes to complete a specific task or event.
Algorithms help us understand how to write codes for the computer.
Step 1: Home
Step 2: School
Step 3: Home
Step 1: Home
Step 1.1 Brush(Teeth)
Step 1.2 Bath
We have several logical or conditional ways of creating algorithms by using IF, GOTO and ENDIF and ELSIF commands. These are also Small Basic commands.
Lets change your normal student routine, to a situation that happens
when you fall sick on a school day.
You find that our normal TASKS will change when there is a new EVENT.
Step 1: Home
Step 2: IF sick
Step 3: GOTO hospital
Step 4: ELSEIF treated
Step 5: GOTO School
Step 6: ENDIF Home
Algorithm example 1
An Algorithm is like a cookbook you can not eat the menu on paper after shopping for items. The foodstuffs has to cooked according to the process in the menu.
If your tummy was a computer, it wouldn’t know how to digest raw foods; the cookbook is the algorithm, the chef is the programmer, while cooking the foodstuffs is the programming language.
When you eat raw food you can become sick or get nauseated, because your tummy might be rejecting the raw form of the food.
A computer programming language will reject an algorithm, if it doesn’t understand the form the algorithm was typed.
Algorithm example 2
You understand only English Language and you are given an essay to read in Chinese; you will need to ask someone that understands Chinese and English languages to translate it for you.
The person who translates would write an short note (algorithm) on the meaning of each Chinese word or sentences in English, before typing as the essay for you.
Humans can only teach computers in special languages called programming languages or codes. Algorithms helps us understand how computers work and they are the best way to explain our commands to computers.
Algorithms are written step-by-step and computer programming languages obey commands (codes) one step at a time.
Algorithm and Math
The basic mathematical symbols/operators :
Addition (on keyboard “+”)
Subtraction (on keyboard “-”)
Division (on keyboard “/”
Multiplication (on keyboard “*”)
In computer programming, humans are the teachers, while computers are the learners.
Computers are blind, deaf, dumb, and they are still growing; your job as a programmer is to teach computers to see, hear, talk and solve problems faster, so you have more time to play.
When writing an Algorithm for a computer code, you are going to use a mouse and keyboard, your algorithm will have similarities with keys on the keyboard.
By teaching a computer to solve a problem, it will never forget it. This will give you time to focus on teaching the computer more algorithms.
Algorithm and math exercises.
If you had a job that pays you $1000 monthly to add two numbers each minute everyday. Would it not be smart to let your computer do the math?
This is a simple exercise in numeracy (2 + 3 = 5).
We can use images to represent the numbers
Now solve this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 + 2,000,000,000 = ?
Both exercises are still the addition of two numbers but the second exercise will take you more time to figure out and pronounce. But it will take a computer the same time (less than 0.1 sec) to calculate both math exercises with an algorithm that can be changed into a Small Basic code.
Algorithm and math exercises contd.
Algorithm solution: (2 + 3 = 5). The plus and equal (+, =) signs are the only stable (constants) items in the math exercise, the rest are unstable “2,3,5” (variables/changing).
We need to create a formula to keep adding two numbers, and formulas are created using the ALPHABET, but NUMBERS are used to test if the formulas can calculate.
With this algorithm we can use any computer programming language to write a code to add up two numbers, even if the numbers are in trillions.
the formula now has to come before the answer, so we swop the Steps 3 to Step 4, to make the algorithm calculate properly.
Step 1: The first number is 2, we can call it alphabet A
Step 2: The second number is 3, we can call it X
Step 3: The third number is the answer 5, we can call it Z
Step 4: The formula looks like this (A+X=Z)
Step 1: First alphabet A = 11
Step 2: Second alphabet X = 5
Step 3: A+X = Z
Step 4: Z = 16
By changing the mathematical sign we can write an algorithm to subtract or multiply or divide any two numbers; which looks like this:
With just one algorithm we have four more algorithms that can be made into simple calculator apps, using Small Basic programming language.
An algorithm also helps us control how an app should work. Robots, the internet, software, apps all work with specific algorithms.
We will learn how to convert our algorithms into Small Basic codes for the computer to learn how to make use of it.
Step 4: The formula looks like this (A+X=Z) or (A-X=Z) or (A/X=Z) or (A*X=Z)
Algorithm for shapes
Remember all sides of a square are equal, so you do not need to have different length, width or height.
For other shapes like the rectangle we will need to add more steps to our algorithm to get numbers for width or base height.
The algorithm for finding the area of a square:
The algorithm for finding the Perimeter of a square:
Step 1: Length of one side is G
Step 2: Area = G*G
Step 1: Length of one side is K
Step 2: Perimeter = 4K
you completed your lesson on Algorithms.
Name of Lesson : Small Basic Calculator apps
Students that can solve basic maths of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.
Overview/Purpose: To enable learners understand Small Basic STATEMENTS, PROPERTIES & OPERATIONS for solving simple Math problems or what we can call Mini calculators, with previous idea
General introduction to 3 STATEMENTS, PROPERTIES and OPERATIONS relevant for the lesson in Small Basic
Three major Small Basic STATEMENTS, PROPERTIES and OPERATIONS to solve most Math Problems
Automating Small Basic calculator apps with Conditional, Loop Statements.
Debugging simple codes
* Relevant football match photos, videos, sound files.
* A physical Football
* A computer with Small Basic installed
* Printed list of Math formulas for shapes.
Learners can use 3 major Small Basic commands solving simple math problems with the idea of Soccer rules.
Learners can create simple Calculator apps using Small Basic with the idea gained from writing Algorithms.
Learners can automate their Calculator app with conditional
statements (If, Goto, Endif, Elseif etc)
* Small Basic PowerPoint tutorials at smallbasic.com
* Create a Small Basic app to multiply 5 numbers.
* Create a Small Basic app to calculate with this formula (K+y)5
* Create a Small Basic app to calculate with this formula (a+b)(m+n)
* Create a Small Basic app to calculate the area of a Triangle
* Debug the Codes at the end of the slide lesson.
* Teachers can create more exercises for their students based on current level in numeracy.
Soccer commands and Small Basic Programming
Lets compare playing soccer (football) to Small Basic programming:
Soccer as a sport is made of some rules which makes us call it a game.
Other sports like hockey, basketball, polo, NFL all have their special rules that makes playing their games special.
You can not apply soccer rules to hockey, neither can you apply basketball rules to NFL.
Computer programming languages are software with special commands for creating apps. They are like different sports with their special rules.
Small Basic has it’s own unique commands that helps you create apps.
One big soccer rule is kicking the ball; we can call it the KickBall command (STATEMENT, VERB(action word), Rule), which is done with the LEGS only, we do not kick the ball with our hands. It is wrong or an error to do that. We must KickBall to Pass, Dribble or take a Shot.
We can make up a Soccer Command Plan: Lets put these soccer commands into groups i.e
1. KickBall (STATEMENT group);
2. Pass, Dribble, Shot (PROPERTY group). Statement and property are separated by a DOT;
3. Actions you put inside the bracket (OPERATIONS group)
Automatic ball actions includes (this will lead us to conditional commands:
Ball spinning on the floor.
Ball going out of the field.
KickBall.Pass (a team mate to read your action)
KickBall.Dribble (trick opponent with the ball)
KickBall.Shot (towards a distant position)
Small Basic Calculator app EDITOR and SOURCE CODE
All rules in soccer work only in the FIELD; similarly in Small Basic, we have an EDITOR that allows us to type in all commands that Small Basic must obey, in order to create our Calculator apps, we call these step-by-step commands SOURCE CODES. The Small Basic EDITOR looks like the photo below:
F5 or RUN tells Small Basic to create an app from all
commands (SOURCE CODES) we typed in the Editor
LINES numbers gives us the number of code line typed, when we press the F5 key or RUN button.
Source Code Editor for typing codes
Summary of important Small Basic commands
for the Calculator Apps lesson
TextWindow.WriteLine() - Moves & displays text on a new line in app screen.
TextWindow.Write() - Leaves & displays text on same line in app screen.
TextWindow.Read() - Allows letters to be typed in app screen.
TextWindow.ReadNumber() - Allows numbers to be typed in app screen.
Math.Power(number, powernumber) - i.e. 73is Math.Power(7,3)
Math.Pi or Math.Cos() or Math.Tan() or Math.Sin() i.e. Math.Cos(30)
Math.SquareRoot() - To get the square root of a number.
GOTO, THEN - Command for branching one code to another.
IF, ELSEIF, ENDIF. - To create a branch of events when coding.
Inverted comma ‘ - Allows you comment on a line of code
Quote marks “” - Works with .Write() or .WriteLine to display text in quote marks on app screen. ie.
Variables - Numbers or letters you create that are not in Small Basic;
commands i.e. total = sum1 + sum2
Small Basic Calculator app (Statements, Properties, Operations)
Small Basic app screen command is TextWindow. Like the KickBall STATEMENT works with other commands like (PASS, DRIBBLE or SHOT) separated by a DOT in our Soccer Command Plan.
All calculators have a small screen that displays RESULTS. The TextWindow STATEMENT command tells Small Basic to display a small black app screen after the next command, when we press the F5 button on the keyboard or click RUN on the monitor.
The small black screen shows that our calculator apps can display any result we are going to program on the SOURCE CODE editor.
Small black app screen appears after pressing F5/RUN button
TextWindow Properties and Operations
Our entire lesson is focused on making Calculator apps, using 5 Small Basic commands.
Small basic understands when you use the commands in the combination given below:
i.e. TextWindow.Write (“Calculator Apps”)
Displays the comment in the quote on the small black app screen after pressing F5/RUN.
Using WriteLine instead of Write put your cursor on the next line in the small black app screen.
Displays a cursor for you to type in numbers only on the small black app screen after pressing F5 Take note of the DOT in-between the STATEMENT and PROPERTIES
IntelliSense & Comments
1. IntelliSense in Small basic provides suggestions on commands you try using on your EDITOR via a small box. It also provide you with the proper spelling and usage of a command you are not too sure of.
2. Comments help you keep a note on each line of command you typed. As a young computer programmer, it is easy to forget the use of a code your typed on the Editor; a comment uses an “Inverted comma”, which tells Small Basic to ignore any command after the inverted comma. i.e ‘this is to test comments.
Only code in QUOTE was displayed
Small Basic Math Symbols & Commands
1. Division: /
2. Multiplication: *
3. Addition: +
4. Subtraction: -
5. Square root: Math.SquareRoot(number)
6. Power:Math.Power(number, x)
7. Equal: =
8. Greater than: >
9. Less than: <
Our first algorithm exercise was to create a math formula to add up two numbers.
We can now write Small Basic codes for our algorithm into:
The Small Basic codes seem to be doubled for each line of algorithm, because we needed to change it from human language to a computer language.
And also help us read what the app wants when we press F5 or RUN button.
Source code editor
TextWindow.Write("Type the first number we call A:")
firstnumber = TextWindow.ReadNumber()
TextWindow.Write("Type the second number we call X:")
secondnumber = TextWindow.ReadNumber()
addingnumbers = firstnumber + secondnumber
Small basic math example 1
Our app is up and running as soon as we press the F5 key on the keyboard or RUN button on screen.
Adding comments at the beginning and in-between the program makes it easy to read and explain to your teacher when your run the app using F5 key.
Comments you want displayed in the app screen are always in QUOTE marks (“comments”).
While Comments to explain what each code line does are placed after an inverted comma (‘). And they do not appear in the app screen after pressing F5 or RUN.
TextWindow.WriteLine("THIS APP ADDS ANY TWO NUMBERS") 'to display text in quote marks
TextWindow.Write("Type the first number we call A:") ‘to display text in quote marks
firstnumber = TextWindow.ReadNumber()' app ask for 1st number
TextWindow.Write("Type the second number we call X:")'to display text in quote marks
secondnumber = TextWindow.ReadNumber()'app ask for 2nd number
addingnumbers = firstnumber + secondnumber'app calculates by adding numbers
TextWindow.Write("ADDING THE TWO NUMBERS GIVES:")'to display text in quote marks
TextWindow.Writeline(addingnumbers)'app display answer
Small basic math Comments example 1
Making a branch code is like turning your program into a cross road; or when you try adding a menu options into your app.
You will notice such events on a phone call voice menu
i.e. For English press 1
For Spanish press 2
GOTO, THEN, IF, ELSEIF & ENDIF are branch commands in Small Basic.
IF English THEN
ELSEIF Spanish THEN
ELSEIF Yoruba THEN
ELSEIF Hausa THEN
For each branch you will have to create other events when coding. These events represents each branch, which are options your app gives the user.
Small Basic Branch or Conditional commands
Creating branch commands in our algorithm app will make the math app automatic with IF, GOTO, THEN and ENDIF.
TextWindow.Write("Type the first number we call A:")‘to display text in quote marks
addingnumbers = firstnumber + secondnumber 'app calculates by adding numbers
TextWindow.WriteLine("Type 1 to Continue Calculation") ‘to display text in quote marks
TextWindow.WriteLine("Type ENTER key to Stop Calculation") ‘to display text in quote marks
start = 1 ‘to repeat addition when 1 is pressed
If TextWindow.ReadNumber() = 1 then ‘app waits for you to type 1
Goto start ‘app restarts addition pressing 1
EndIf ‘logic command to END the IF command
Step 5: Ask to start by pressing “1” or ENTER key
Step 6: IF “1” is pressed THEN
Step 7: GOTO Step 1
Step 8: ENDIF app when ENTER key is pressed
Small Basic Branch or Conditional Statements
The app we created in the previous slide would close after adding any two numbers.
If your job was to add several other numbers throughout the day; it would be slow, if you have to press F5 or RUN button each time you need to repeat the addition process.
You can make your math app keep running till you want it to stop calculating by adding a branch command to your algorithm and source code like IF, ENDIF, GOTO, ELSEIF, and THEN commands.
TextWindow.WriteLine("Type 1 to Continue Calculation")‘to display text in quote marks
start = 1‘to repeat addition when 1 is pressed
Small basic Math Objects
Math objects gives us the option to create more formulas for our calculator apps.
We are using the formula to find the numbers that are raised to any Power.
i.e , ,
Remember to always use the TextWindow.Write() to display Math.Power(number, power)
on APP screen
TextWindow.Write("Type a number to know the square:")‘displays text
square = TextWindow.ReadNumber() ‘app ask for number
TextWindow.Write("The square of the number:") ‘displays text in quote
TextWindow.Writeline(Math.Power(square,2))‘displays the power of 2
You can start by creating Small Basic calculator apps from these math formulas.
Small basic codes example 3
Our final example will be on our algorithm to find the AREA and PERIMETER of a Square.
TextWindow.WriteLine("App to calculate AREA & PERIMETER of a square")
TextWindow.Write("Type the value for any side:") ‘app displays texts
gsides = TextWindow.ReadNumber() ‘app wants length typed
TextWindow.Write("The AREA of the square is:") ‘app display text
TextWindow.WriteLine(Math.Power(gsides,2)) ‘app calculates & display area
TextWindow.Write("The PERIMETER of the SQUARE is:")‘app displays text
TextWindow.Writeline(gsides*4) ‘app calculates & display perimeter
Step 2: Area =
Step 2: Perimeter = 4*G
Debugging your code is correcting errors (bugs) you made in the source code editor during typing or working with Small Basic codes.
Making errors or mistakes in your source code stops your code from becoming a app when your press F5 or RUN button.
Small Basic EDITOR will show you the LINE number(s) where error(s) where found, with an error message on each line.
You can also debug a code by reading the COMMENTS section to know what it was meant to do; then you can rewrite the algorithm.
The LINE number where an error was found.
Error messages to read
Code debugging exercises 1
1. Type the codes and do not copy directly into your Small Basic source code editor.
2. Read the comments to find out what each line of code is meant to calculate.
3. Retype the correct commands, formulas or algorithm.
4. Use F5 or RUN button to test and see if the source can now create an app screen
TextWindow.Write("Type a number to know the fourth power:")‘displays text
fourthpower = TextWindow.ReadNumber() ‘to type a number
TextWindow.Write("The fourth power of the number:") ‘displays text in quote
TextWindow.Writeline(Math.Power(square,1)) ‘displays fourth power of number
TextWindow.Write("Type a number to know the 2nd power:")‘displays text
square = TextWindow.ReadNumber() app ask for number
TextWindow.Writeline(Math.Power(square,2))displays the the 2nd power
Code debugging exercises 2
2. Read the comments to find out what the code is meant to calculate.
TextWindow.WriteLine("A program to multiply two numbers") ‘to display text
firstnumber = TextWindow.ReadNumber() ‘to get 1st number
secondnumber = TextWindow.ReadNumber() ‘to get 2nd number
multiplynum = firstnumber + secondnumber ‘to multiply 1st & 2nd number
TextWindow.WriteLine(multiplynum)‘to display the answer
TextWindow.WriteLine("A app to add two numbers") ‘to display text in quote
Write("Type the first number we call A:") ‘to display text in quote
firstnumber = TextWindow.ReadNumber() ‘app asks for number
TextWindow.Write("Type the second number we call X:") ‘to display text in quote
TextWindow.Write("Addition of the two numbers:") ‘to display text in quote
TextWindow.Writeline(addingnumbers) ‘to display text in quote
Small Basic Calculator Apps challenge.
“The purpose of your program”.
YOUR NAMEe.g Gates B.
NAME of your Teachere.g Mrs Barnes class
NAME of your school e.g City High
State & Countrye.g Lagos, Nigeria
adding 3 numbers formula by “YOURNAME”
Use the samples when publishing your source code.
“The purpose of your program” . #sbcalculatorapps
Always SAVE your source code after each update you make.
Use the PUBLISH button on the toolbar menu to share your source codes.
Use the above samples as an example to add details to code before publishing (Update button).
Test your calculator app(s) to see how well it solves some math exercises in your math text book.
you can now use
Small Basic to
program Math formulas.
Let the games begin!
Algorithm will be used here, same way it will be needed to prepare a code during programming.
For computer programming, algorithms help you teach the computer how to solve a problem, when converted to language both of you can understand i.e. Small Basic.
An App is created with a programming language to help computer/smartphone users perform specific task. The word APP (Application software) is not only synonymous smartphone software but also to computer programs.
Teacher’s note: Typing codes on the interactive board might not be helpful in describing codes to students at first.
The teacher should write the example sources codes the boards, then students can then type the codes on the Small Basic editor and RUN them.
This would help students keep focus and pace with understanding the codes being taught gradually.
Soccer simple rule 11 players against, 11 other players moving one ball around the field with their LEGS and HEAD without using their HANDS, till they put the ball into the opponents goal net.
We must kick the ball before we can Pass it, Dribble with it, or take a long shot with the ball. The only time we take pick up the ball with our hands, is it goes off by the side of the field; then the referee asks a player to throw the ball back into the field.
Telling each player what to do the ball each time can help us write a soccer command plan
Remember, Small Basic can create other apps, but throughout this lesson we are only using Small Basic to focus on mini math calculator apps to help us solve our math exercises. Mastering it will help us remember how math formulas and solve problems with them.
Think of Small Basic commands as a dictionary of commands/words that it recognizes during coding.
KickBall command is an illustration and not a Small Basic command, so you should not expect it to work.
In learning any programming language, do not try and focus on everything about the commands. Focus only on doing what you are already used to in the natural world.
Learn 6 commands that can do simple calculations as a start, then expand to add other commands gradually.
You might feel you're not yet a guru, but you are already a programmer in solving simple problems with the few commands you know.
To make your codes neat you can jump lines to give space or group similar codes together.
TextWindow.Writeline(“”) takes the cursor on the app screen to another line.
While TextWindow.Write(“”)leaves the cursor on the app screen on the same line.
Do not try to code the entire formula into a single source code file or editor.
Build up your confidence by calculating a formula at a time, then you can combine several formulas later on to make your Calculator app unique.
You can use Conditional commands (GOTO, IF, THEN, ELSEIF, ENDIF) to add automatic events to you app.
To make your codes neat you can jump lines to give space or group similar codes together on the editor to make them readable.
Using TextWindow.WriteLine() can also be used for debugging. But we are not going to learn that here in this course,
because most of your codes are less than 10 lines with simple commands. By learning how to code properly you will not need to use the command.
Working on your algorithm and commands will help you understand how to write better source codes.
Debugging classroom exercises can be the same source codes was successfully created by students/teacher;
then remodified to create 1 or 3 bugs for students to correct.
It should also involve the teacher running a correct code but without the TextWindow.Write() command,
students should be able to tell why their code does not display the app screen.
Debugging classroom exercises can be the same source codes that was successfully created by students/teacher;
1. Teachers can use the program IDs for students online/offline continuous assessment to run or print out students source code sheets, in an eLearning lesson.
2. Date and Time stamps on the program can be useful in helping teachers track authenticity assessment of students source codes.
3. For classroom assessment purposes teachers can ask students to SAVE their source codes with their “STUDENTS NAMES, CLASS, TEST TYPE”
ie. JANE DOE grade 4 test 1.
4. Teachers can devices various ways to assess their students online and offline with simple modification of previous assessment templates.
5. Students taking screen shots of their app screen can be a quick assessment evidence for teachers to verify functionality of the Calculator app(s)
PP (Application software) is not only synonymous smartphone software but also to computer programs.
4. Teachers can devices various ways to assess th