Lesson 1 Activity 1 - Turn & Walk

The first activity in Lesson 1 is a participatory simulation called “Turn & Walk”.  After playing the “game” based on simple rules, students will see a computer model based on the same activity. Of particular importance is the comparison of real and virtual worlds and the consideration of how a computer model might help us understand a phenomenon in the real-world.  Students will be exposed to characteristics of complex adaptive systems: many agents, simple rules, emergent patterns, and “adaptive” to change. In the second part of the activity, students will get an overview of some of the parts of a computer model.
  • Watch a video of students playing the game "Turn & Walk"
  • Watch a video on how to use the computer model of "Turn & Walk"
  • Run simulations of the game using a computer model.
  • Learn new CS concepts (events, event handlers)

Watch the video of students playing the game
“Turn & Walk” based on simple rules

Quiz questions:
1 point
What were the simple rules for" Turn and Walk"?

1 point
What was the emergent pattern that formed in Turn and Walk when the rules were repeated multiple times?

Watch a video that shows how to run experiments with this model.
Open the computer model based on the activity and run the model several times with different parameters.

Quiz questions:
1 point
What were three of the variables you could set in the Turn and Walk model?

1 point
What is the name of the StarLogo interface area where the simulation takes place?

Next, run simulations using a computer model based on the same activity. 
Click to open the StarLogo Nova Turn and Walk model.

Learn CS Concepts: 

Read about events and event handling in these two documents

Review new terms: agent, simple rules, heading, iteration, prediction, emergent patterns, scatter, initial conditions, outcomes, phenomenon, and adaptive. 


Reflect on the correspondence between the model of Turn and Walk and the real-world activity.
  • What parts of the real-world activity were reflected the model?
  • What are some differences between the modeled version of Turn and Walk and the real-world activity? 
  • What features of the real-world are left out?  Do those features matter?
  • How can computer models be used to learn about the real world?
  • What kinds of things would you rather model on a computer than in real life?
Post your reflections in your portfolio in the section "Reflections->Computer Modeling & Simulation" under the heading "Turn and Walk."