iCompute, Q & A

Q: How do we figure out what topics to cover for the Computing Basics section?

A: The study guide provides multiple examples of the types of things students will be expected to recognize. This is not intended to be exhaustive, but indicates the complexity of information about hardware and software concepts they will be expected to know.

Q: Where do coaches usually practice?

A: This is up to the school, coach, and team to determine, but is often done within the school.

Q: What do we do if the school does not provide hardware, or the provided hardware does not have Scratch installed?

A: Teams should have access to resources necessary to practice, see your school’s head coach about available resources. If the computer does not have Scratch installed, it is recommended to use the online version, which is almost identical to the downloaded version.

Q: Is the acorn command tile a stop command or an action command?

A: As discussed in the study guide, this is an example of an action tile. Other symbols may be paired with the exclamation point to symbolize various actions.

Q: Should the kids get more points for repeat 2x forward rather than forward + forward?

A: As discussed in the study guide, using appropriate language constructs such as loops, branches, and functions will be considered higher quality than those that do not. In this instance both methods use the same number of tiles, but using the repeat tile avoids redundancy and uses appropriate language constructs and would be graded more favorably.

Q: What about kids who are not good readers?

A: Language on the test will be vetted by experts as grade appropriate. If the student requires reading accommodations due to special needs, WESO will work to provide the necessary accommodations.

Q: Is the study guide for this event for  2nd / 3rd grade only?

A: The study guide marked iCompute (2nd, 3rd grades) is intended for use with this event. The study materials for iCompute (4th, 5th grades) is separate and should be used for those participating in that event.

Q: Is there a difference in UI between Scratch Desktop vs. the web version of Scratch?

A: The two programs are functionally very similar and either can be used for practice. As stated in the event description the event will use the downloaded desktop version 3.

Q: Do students need to know about multiple sprites and different instruction sets per sprite?

A: Students will not be asked to use multiple sprites as part of this event.

Q: Will Section 3 be judged differently based on creativity in the program?

A: No. Points will be awarded based on working programs, correct solutions, efficiency and quality of the code as outlined in the event description and study guide.

Q: How does the background work?

A: A background will be set up for students to use during Section 3. Students will not be expected to set this background themselves. See the sample question in the event description for an example of how this will be used.

Q: Can we (the coaches) be in the room?

A: No. The room will be restricted to the participating teams and WESO volunteers.

Q: Can the volunteers show them how to reset the position of the sprite in Section 3?

A: A mechanism (likely a function block) for resetting the sprite will be provided for each team. Students can ask volunteers for assistance resetting if necessary.

Q: The Turn Right command, does it turn in place or move after turning?

A: As outlined in the study guide the Turn Left and Turn Right commands change direction only. They do not provide any forward or lateral movement.

Q: Will it be clear what the orientation of the squirrel is?

A: Whichever sprite is used for the event will have a very clear direction it is facing.

Q: What if a kid puts two repeat blocks in a row?

A: The repeat block is designed to repeat the single command tile that follows it. If a repeat tile is placed after a repeat tile, the effect would be to repeat the repeat. For example [Repeat 3x] [Repeat 3x] [Move Forward] would move forward 9 times total.

Q: What do they need to know about low-level vs. high-level languages?

A: As indicated these sections of the study guide are intended for information about the history of computing only and will not appear on the exam.

Q: The High-level and low-level programming languages section of the study guide uses an example of recursion. Will students need to read and understand recursion?

A: No. These sections of the study guide are for information only. Understanding recursion will not be necessary for the event.

Q: Are you going to put up some examples of the Scratch problem?

A: Please see the event description for an example of what the problem might look like.

Q: Are the sections of the test sequential, part A then part B then part C, or can kids go back to an earlier part of the test?

A: Sections of the test will be completed sequentially.

Q: What type of problem will the students see in Section 3?

A: Students will be presented with a movement-based problem similar to Section 2.

Q: Will Section 3 programs need to sense and avoid obstacles?

A: No, sensing constructs will not be necessary.

Comment: I’m coaching iComputer for 2nd and 3rd grade. It will be very helpful to understand the depth of awareness on scratch where students have to be at. This request might be too early, but it’s better to know. Could you please provide some sample questions for 2nd and 3rd-grade section C.
Answer: For Section C of the event, students will be expected to solve a movement-based task. They will be asked to navigate a sprite around a provided background using appropriate language constructs from Scratch. The event will not require multiple sprites and students will not be required to sense proximity to obstacles programatically. We’re looking for basic familiarity with Scratch, not complex code.