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3V0916.1

3V0916.01 Commitment to an interpretation: [go pick the lady grass.](7/26/80)

Miriam has been given the job of picking grass out of the driveway and
she resists it mightily. I recently scolded her and told her to go pick
out every blade of grass at the turn (the grass had slowed drainage and
caused some flooding). Peggy added her weight to my command,
“Mimi, go pick the lady grass.” Surprised, I said “Lady grass?” Are you
sure ? Couldn’t it be man grass ?” Peggy proclaimed her certainty, “No.
It’s lady grass.”

3V1104.1

3V1104.01 “Gepeters” [computers]: incremental lexicon standardization (1/30/81)

Peggy wants to go to Logo (whatever that means to her) and also asked if she ‘could play with the gepeters at Logo.’ Later, her use slipped into the standard form by first appearing a ‘geputers’ then as ‘computers.’

3V1109.2

3V1109.02 Trip to Logo: typical stories (2/14-15/81)

Peggy, Robby and I went to MIT after story hour. Danny Moore came to the lab late in the afternoon and I tended Peggy while Robby played with him. What I recall of this time is that Peggy and I went to DSRE for my Spencer Foundation letter, spent a few minutes in Andy’s office till Robby was free (we played with tinker toys — that is, Peggy did, making ‘things’ for me while I looked over my letters and so forth. for a while, Peggy played at the typewriter in my office (The effect of this is shown most clearly in VT P160.)

Robby wanted much more to do other things than care for Peggy, for example read comic books or play adventure on the Apple. Later in the evening, I found him doing so and asked Peggy how she liked it. ‘It’s terrible.’ was her comment.

That evening, back at Mrs. Tack’s, as I was climbing into bed, Peggy asked if she could tell me the story about the Pig family. I agreed and she began. Once upon a time, there were three little pigs and they lived in a house in the woods. There was Mommy Pig and Daddy Pig and Robby Pig and Mimi Pig and Peggy Pig — oh, oh — Peggy Piggy, I never heard of that.’ (This last is an idiom for Peggy pointing out the outlandish quality of Peggy Piggy.) The next day, my most common remote sight was of the two playing near but separately in the Childrens Learning Laboratory. Several times I saw them lolling together in a couple bean bag chairs. Later Robby told me what they were doing — telling stories. this is typical of his :
‘Once upon a time, a little girl in a red coat was walking through the woods. A big wolf came up and wanted to eat her, so she pulled out her machine gun and cut him down. The end.’

He reported this variation on the Pig Family Story (the only one Peggy told ) :
Once upon a time, the Pig family lived in the woods. there was a Mommy and a Daddy Pig and three children : Flopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. It was bedtime. They went up and up and up and up and up and up and up the stairs and went to bed.

During the afternoon, we went to the Children’s Museum while Robby played with the computers at Logo. Peggy slid about on the giant’s telephone, drove the car, slid down the slide of the infant’s castle — found a ring tower toy and put it together directly. She most remembered — indeed asked to go upstairs to see — the traffic light. On the floor above, she found little to interest her in the computers, but did play with a set of mirror-enclosed, plastic chips. She did a quick tour of the doll houses. Following more play with the wonderful waterfull, toy trains, and the giant’s desk, we rode the subway back to Tech Square. Peggy and I both had a delightful time. A little more work, and we left for home. Peggy slept during the entire trip.

note : 2/15/81 Since then, Peggy has pestered Robby to tell her stories… he does so with even less detail than the sample above.

3V1181.1

3V1181.01 Blocks microworld: “Clever little blocks” (4/17/81)

Peggy was introduced to computers with P168 and P169. We talked a little today about what she was doing with the computer upstairs. She replied that she was “making the blocks walk.” I asked if she was able to make the blocks turn yet. She replied, “No, they turn themselves.” (they turn 180 degrees by demon intervention at screen edge.) When I asked her why (fishing for her recall of the anthropomorphic metaphor, of their turning around when they encounter a wall) she answered, “They’re clever little blocks.”

Besides being true, Peggy’s observation is interesting because she is applying to these computational objects the label “clever” which she has recently applied with clear pride and self-congratulation (applied) to herself. These past few weeks, it has been clearly important to Peggy that she calls herself
“clever.” Frequently, when she has done something we approve of or find amusing, we say, “You’re a clever little rabbit,” oftimes accompanied by a hug or some other expression of affection. The expression comes by paraphrase from a nonsense verse of Walt Kelly’s”
“See the rabbits in the wood
..Eating porridge as they should…
…..Those clever little bunnies….”
Another example of Peggy’s feeling for the computer arose when I decided to bring it downstairs (to free up a table for working on my chain saw.) She pestered me a little, “When are you going to bring down the beautiful computer?”

3V1184.1

3V1184.01 Blocks microworld: Moving Blocks (4/20/81)

Peggy has experienced a number of insights in her developing control of the little blocks microworld. The record of her discovery of “BK” is in P169. This is a significant and meaningful operation for her when the block has a forward velocity. In the case “BK” interrupts the velocity for a jump back, after which continued forward movement goes on. Peggy said (?) this is a “neat phenomenon.”

3V1185.1

3V1185.01 Computer at home: TI-99 (4/21/81)

I finally brought home a TI-99 from the Logo lab. The machine’s storage extension is very flakey and the tape recorder would not work well for the first week or so. Consequently it was hard to program little systems for Peggy. We began using the computer in experiments with P169. The video quality of the firs two sessions was poor because lighting was inadequate. P171 is much better.

Peggy’s first use of the computer was simple letter -keying… it was an electronic typer, a keyboard with an output she could see. She liked very much to turn off the computer then restart. She was thrilled to be able to control the appearance of the start up design… Which she described thus, “Daddy, I made the science.” She continues (5/11/81) fascinated with controlling the hardware, inserting audio tapes (at random) into the recorder and pressing its buttons. I have tried hard to let her help, interpreting for her the I-O directions printed on the display and instructing her when to press enter. (We should capture this on P172 later today.)

The enculturation aspect showed up very clearly in the first appearance of technical jargon (4/21). When a problem occurred, Peggy turned toward me and said, “Daddy, it’s the same problem. There’s a bug in you bacedure.” [sic]

3V1188.1

3V1188.01 Piecemeal discovery from playing with TI BLOCKS (4/24/81)

Peggy’s grasp of what she could do with this micro-world has been delightfully piece meal. The first and most striking thing was learning to make the blocks walk. I seem to recall this happened in the first session. The next discovery was the BACK command. It was a discovery in the sense of being discriminated from others and producing a regular consequence from its execution. What made it her discovery ? No one else had imagined the effect of using BACK when a block was WALKing (the block hops backward in its forward path). Peggy discovered this in P170 (online). The next discrimination, a consequence of direct instruction in response to a question from her was how to select a new object of commands. I recall asking Peggy is she could make blocks other than the black (the default object) move. She was sad and said, “No.” I flatly asserted that SHE could and she asked me to show her how. I did so. (This was the Saturday before P171, I believe.) On the date of this note, Peggy changed the object she was commanding. I asked if she had [done] so on purpose or by accident. Peggy responded by changing the object of command to a different one, then smiled at me. Her turning command control may not yet be perfect (right from left) but she does discriminate between the turning commands and the others.

3V1192.1

3V119201 Issues in learning graphical language: Logo logon messages (/28/81)

Peggy has more or less read “BY” — the common word in her story books. Her reading it shows little discrimination but for length. Today, Peggy began reading (in my presence, for the first time) the Logo Logon messages “Setting up” and “Welcome to Logo.” When they appeared on the screen, I asked if she could read them and she said yes, and she did so in something of a sing-song tone. Does she have it down right ? Of course not. She is associating an interpretation of a graphical string (which interpretation she has been told) with that string. It is striking that her reading in this computer context is taking on some of the character of her first introduction to oral language. That is, by accident she is being exposed to supra-logical strings which she gives an idiomatic meaning to. The phrases communicate information to her about the state of loading (which interests her much).

She also repeats what she has been told about other alpha strings “You have to wait till the letters come…” and “You wait until it says ‘Done, Thank you for waiting.'” This is during the process of loading programs into memory from cassette.

This all seems to be a consequence of wanting to “do it herself;” is it imitation of grown ups or is it the desire for control and understanding ?

3V1199.3

3V1199.03 P’s on the computer with drawing program 5/5/81)

Peggy has begin playing with a tile-based drawing program I made for Miriam.. Although she says she prefers playing with the Blocks program, Peggy plays with the drawing program more than any other. She surprised herself and me today by making a box, then she continued drawing a vertical line under it’s left side, “I made a P, Daddy. I made a P myself.”

3V1204.1

3V1204.01 Note for Bob: A bug or is it a feature ? (5/10/81)

Peggy has been able to get DRAW to malfunction, in such a way that a red truck appears in mid screen. This was a nice novelty. We left it there and she drew a box around it. It makes me wonder if I should combine a DRAW capability with an alphabetically invoked set of shapes, naming each and representing each by its first letter ? Consider for next experiment — maybe using letter programs as the basis.

3V1212.1

3V121201 Writing words: in order to load programs (very impt.) (5/18/81)

Peggy has spontaneously begun to “write” (ie type) words in order to control the loading of programs. While waiting for Gretchen to make available the DRAW program, Peggy typed “LO” (Did she ask if that was right ? Did she ask what next ?)

With me, she has also asked to control the tape recorder and use of the enter key. At first, I told her what to do, step-by-step, but she has the routine down now in a dependable fashion. While controlling loading, she confided in me today, “I think I’m programming.”
.

3V1217.1

3V1217.01 The Alphabet Song: letters change but the melody lingers on (5/23/81)

Coming home from Cambridge, Miriam was singing the litany ‘ABCD-EFG…” and getting Peggy to join her. At home, singing by herself, Peggy gave evidence of knowing the tune well but her text was somewhat corrupt: “ABCD-FIG…” was how she began then petered off. Later, at the computer using the ABC program, she announced the objective, “I’m going to make the “ABCD FIY”

3V1217.2

3V1217.02 Spelling “load” and being grown-up; contrast toilet training (5/23/81)

Peggy sat alone at the computer. The rest of us were out in the dining room, eating lunch. She called with notable excitement, “Daddy, come see. I’ve spelled ‘LOAD.’ Come see it, Daddy.” Because of her excitement, I left the table, witnessed her achievement (it was, in fact, the first time she correctly spelled a word and knew it to be so) and congratulated her. Obviously proud of herself, Peggy responded, “I think I’m grown up.”

To help put this in its proper perspective, I note that on the same day, for the first time, Peggy was able to insert her own little toilet adapter onto the adult toilet and, using a stool, climb on and off the toilet by herself. She was proud of herself for both reasons, but SHE remarked on the first as evidence of being grown up.

3V1218.1

3V1218.01 Spelling a second word: “loadshapes” after “load” (5/24/81)

My cassette files are set up with procedures stored before shapes. The first are accessed by ‘LOAD’ and the second by ‘LOADSHAPES.’ Since Peggy had insisted on typing LOAD wherever possible, I have HAD to instruct her to discriminate between the two words so that her eagerness didn’t lead us into trying to LOAD when LOADSHAPES was appropriate. My instruction was simple, “You type LOAD, but I will type the rest of this different word.” Now Peggy, at the correct place in the loading routine either begins typing the continuation (with “SH” so far) or asks me to type the “other part” of the word. This is clearly a case where instruction plays a function which I know is necessary and which Peggy can also accept as necessary for her to play as large a role as she is capable of.

3V1233.1

3V1233.01 Peggy’s first Word World: a summary description (6/8/81)

Objects:
SUN (base color) (via UPx N) (help with WALK/SLOWERx2)
GIRL (base color) (Via DOWN x N=4 (started at road)
CAR (help with GREEN) (help with MOVE) (via DOWN x 5) (help with WALK/ FAST)
DOG (base color) (help with MOVE) (via DOWN x 1)
HOUSE (help with WALK/HALT) (via DOWN x 1) (base color)
VAN (help with BLUE) (via DOWN x 6) (help with WALK/TURN)
TRUCK (help with GREEN) (via DOWN?) (FAST & FASTER)
PLANE (help with RED) (via FLY)
JET (base color) (via FLY) (help with FASTER)
BIRD (help with RED) (via FLY)
OAK (help with MOVE)
novel: Peggy introduced ZOOM; I taught it to Logo as FAST and FASTER
MAN (help with WALK)

Later in the evening, after SHE crashed the system and I brought it up) Peggy began making a new world. First a house, then (with some interventions on my part) a PINE. AS I did other things, Peggy kept asking for help. The slogan that evolved in this situation was “Look at the word. The word tells you what letters to type.” this bizarre slogan represents a completely new definition of what a word IS.

3V1234.1

3V1234.01 A New Way of Presenting Words (6/9/81)

Peggy’s biggest problem in typing words [from a list] was recognizing which word she was copying to the keyboard. I began telling her to look at the first letter of the word and to remember what it was, emphasizing it that way and by identifying it by her personal name, “That begins with the Scurry letter,” etc. One can present them differently. The words are now on five 4×6″ cards, grouped as things, people, color words, place words (plus fly) and speed words. I can, instead present them on color coded (for grouping) and on individual cards — thus Peggy could better explore for herself the meaning of the words. I will do that for this morning.

3V1234.2

3V1234.02 Peggy’s Reception of Card-words (6/9/81)

After setting up the world subsystem with last minute perfections, I went off to the dentist, leaving four sets of cards stacked separately near the computer with the WORLD word leaning against the front of it. I left with the WORLD display set up, with a HOUSE in place and a JET ZOOMing across the sky.

When I returned later (having left everyone asleep except Gretchen), Peggy came to greet me and asked excitedly that I come see her new world. She showed me a world cleared of “my” objects with a SUN (which she described as “peeking” [it appeared at the bottom of the screen and was less than half visible]. The words WORLD, SUN, and UP had been typed (the latter five or more times). Who did it ? PEGGY. Who showed her how ? NO ONE. Who suggested it ? NO ONE. The WORLD card was still leaning against the front of the computer. SUN topped one stack on the back of it and UP topped another at its side.

As Peggy played with her WORLD later in the day, it was clear that she had become quite comfortable in copying letters from left to right (and could do so with no errors)/ I heard her several times say (for a sequence of all the letters in a card word) “it tells me (optional letter name)” as she touched the first letter on the card and then the letter on the keyboard.

3V1234.3

3V1234.03 Reading: one word at a time (6/9/81)

Peggy played with the computer — off and on — during most of the day. Mostly she was “on.” (She even left the supper table to play with her “world”) although she took a break now and again to have a snack or to join Robby and Miriam when they were out working on the lawn.

At the beginning of the day, she needed help finding the card word which would do what she wanted. (And at one point she typed PAINTGR #. I noted she needed a space between the words.) Several times at least she saw me pick up a deck of cards and sort through them for the card she sought.
This evening, as we adults were deciding to go to bed, Peggy mentioned wanting to make something FLY. I pointed out BIRD was on top of one pile of cards (she proceeded to type that word). FLY was (I believe but am not certain) was also readily at hand. After making BIRD FLY in two separate commands, Peggy complained that her BIRD was not going fast enough… “You want it to ZOOM like the cars and the trucks ?” I asked. She agreed and extracted the appropriate card. “How do you know that?” I asked (expecting an answer relating to the initial ‘Z’). Peggy replied, “it’s got an ‘M’, two ‘O’s, and one of these things.” Peggy, that is, discriminated one target word (her target) from a number of similar card words (there are nine others printed in red marker on white 4×6 cards), pronounced its associated value when found and justified her judgment by referring to a decomposition of the thing into known elements. What else would one ask as a demonstration that she was reading one word at a time ? That she understand it’s meaning ? She did so (it makes things go fast) because that pre-established meaning was encoded at her request and became one of the most popular verbs she applied to her objects.

Another point, somewhat earlier. Peggy said she wanted to paint a dog green. The packs of cards were jumbled and I asked, “Where are all the paint cards?” And she inquired further, “You mean the ones with the space?” That is, she now clearly discriminates that class of cards with a minimal phrase (two words) from a single word, recognizing the space character as a delimiter.

It will be interesting to see in our next experiment if I can introduce Peggy to two word sentences, such as CAR ZOOM. FISH SWIM, etc, BOAT SAIL…. Maybe this needs another world (and how about PAINT GREEN GIRL and PAINT GIRL GREEN ? (note this idea was followed up by creation of the CITY world.)

3V1238.1

3V1238.01 Debugging Spellings (6/13/81)

Peggy copies the cards letter by letter, but sometimes she copies wrong. For example, after we returned from the hospital with Kate and Gretchen, and I loaded procedures, Peggy executed WORLD, SUN, UP (many times) then PAINT GREEN; she then tried “VAN”, a familiar shape but a less familiar word; because it was lying upright on the floor, she keyed V, S, N and ‘do it.’ Logo returned the message, “You haven’t told me how to ‘VSN.’

Peggy was really turned off and complained that Logo didn’t know what she meant, “It didn’t work.” As in other cases, I pointed out explicitly her specific error. Later on, Peggy typed “DOWNN”, trying to get her “VAN” down to the road. When the message appeared, she complained, “It didn’t work! (then, looking again) Oops. I got two N’s.” That is, when the same failure appeared, she imitated my analysis.

3V1238.2

3V1238.02 Recalling a Word (6/13/81)

Peggy just spelled ZOOM from memory. Two girl shapes were ZOOMing too close together. The FAST card sat nearby so I instructed Peggy to key it. With some trouble, she keyed that familiar word of unknown spelling, copying letter by letter.

Disappointed that the current girl was going slow (fast is slower than ZOOM), Peggy, repeating “Zoomy, zoomy,” to herself executed the procedure by spelling the word from memory. I asked her how she knew how to spell it (since the card was/is nowhere in sight, and she answered that she just remembered it.

3V1239.1

3V1239.01 Discovering “Turn” (6/14/81)

After what seemed initially an unproductive session (P177), Peggy discovered the word TURN. Looking through the RED lettered cards (probably for some other word) she selected and keyed it. The TRUCK (or VAN) which was the current objects reversed as directed and Peggy exclaimed, “It turned !”

This does not argue that at that moment she learned the word and semantics of TURN — but it does exemplify how such learning is gradually achievable by a sequence of small discoveries in a rich milieu.

3V1246.1

3V1246.01 Edit Shape 16: Miriam makes a pony shape for Peggy (6/21/81)

Miriam made a PONY shape and procedure for Peggy’s BEACH WORLD. After I saved these on a tape and Miriam went away, Peggy took over her computer again, In the interim, somehow the shape had been cleared (perhaps a crash). At any rate, Peggy keyed ES 16 and received a blank grid (this was the shape Miriam had used). When I asked what she was doing, Peggy answered, “I’m making a PONY.” But her goal was too hard. I told her to hold down the shift key and use arrows to move the blinker. She only succeeded at criss cross patterns of straight lines. when asked again what she was making, Peggy replied, “An important thing.” I told her I was glad of that.

3V1247.1

3V1247.01 Computer as Word-tester (6/22/81)

Peggy sorts through the cards of the BEACH WORLD – She read the card WORLD with a questioning tone in her voice, then adding “I’ll try it and see,” executed it with considerable satisfaction.

Later, after creating some objects, she sorted through the cards and picked out DOWN. She acted puzzled, then tried it and when it moved the current object, noted it meant DOWN.

3V1264.1

3V1264.01 TI Speech Editor (7/9/81)

This limited function module appears to do no more that recite letter names. That, however, is now very interesting to Peggy. After watching Miriam and me play with it for a while, she asked to take over. It appears that any combination of letters not separated by a space or some other non-alpha character is treated as an error. Peggy had to be instructed in that (no surprise). She happily keyed random letters (but she still inclined to long strings of repetition whenever she struck a favorite letter, e.g. D) and made the module say them and repeat them. She was proud of her success and claimed “I made a real nice procedure, didn’t I ?”

3V1266.1

3V1266.01 Implicit Instruction: speech generated alphabet (7/11/81)

Peggy asked to play with the speech generator. I set it up and keyed in the alphabet — for no particular reasons other than to test it’s functioning — then realized that this extended symbolic object, of marginally greater interest to me than random letters, was now an artifact of our information world.[?]

3V1267.1

3V1267.01 Computer-based cuisenaire rods (7/12/81)

Peggy enjoyed playing with the Cuisenaire rods during out experiment P181. Either in that one or the next P182, Peggy first accomplished a set of “stairs.”

After the end of the experiment, she continued playing with rods and I heard her mention (at a point where she omitted the 3-length green rod from a series) “Oops. I left out the poor little green one.” After knocking them over and restarting, she went on to omit the 4-length and said something similar – perhaps “left out the purple-y”

3V1275.1

3V1275.01 Computer “rods” (7/20/81)

Seeing the trouble she had with the rods always falling over, I asked is a Rods microworld would be easier to manipulate and thus intellectually more accessible to her. So I proceeded to make one, substituting (a later idea) the blinking of numbers in place of partial blanks — that is the active rod is so indicated by its number name flashing at the center (end unit) of rotation.

After introducing this system (P182) later the same day, Peggy;s spontaneously adopted the objective of building a set of stairs on the table and achieved that objective. Since then, she has usually made such a construct whenever she plays with it.

This is not entirely true — for Peggy has used the active rod (usually the white one) driving it over the other rods to make them disappear. I left this feature in the system as a child-correctable bug — ie when a rod has holes in it, it can be repaired by rekeying it’s number name. when I saw Peggy had made all the rods disappear, I asked her where they were. Miriam responded that Peggy had made the white one “eat” them . I don’t know if the idea and word were Miriam’s or Peggy’s.

3V1380.1

3V1380.01 Drawing and Writing (11/2/81)

Peggy has made many drawings lately, of which I have saved a large number, writing down her explanations as made and dating them. This is a small but important collection for documenting Peggy’s developing command of writing.

On this day, Peggy wrote a “message” on one piece of paper, showed it to me (of course, I applauded her work, her writing) and she remarked, “I can’t write it with letters. I can write it with teeth.”

Later on this month — perhaps at my request — Peggy began writing words. The first was a list of computer programs she used. Later, Peggy has begun writing words of her own choosing – for example “door knob” and “refrigerator.” It appears to be the case that Peggy is learning to read and write synchronously through her computer experiences.
Later added note: I must try to document both her reading and writing (or keying) as best I can on videotape soon. Probably today, (12/6/81) P202.

3V1420.1

3V1420.01 Turn” vs. “Truck” (12/12/81)

Peggy played with BEACH world, put a ZOOMing SUN in the sky and so forth. She had some figures on a screen — I believe a ZOOMing MOON which she wanted to have move in the opposite sense. When she asked how to do it, I told her to look for the TURN card as I left the room, remarking that it started with a letter “T”. While I was on the phone, Peggy raised the cry from the living room, “Dad, TURN doesn’t work. It gave me a truck.”

3V1421.1

3V1421.01 Reading Test (in P203/K27) (12/13/81)

In P203/K27 (which began with Peggy’s first captured dance), I gave Peggy a reading test based on two groups of words — the first from her reading of books; the second from her computer experiences. From the first group of words she recognized only “NO.” (Gretchen has been reading her “The Quiet-Noisy Book” — which makes much of the word “NO.”) and “Peggy” (which she first read as “GREEN”; she declared it Peggy only after I pushed her to justify her decision and she said “P,E,G,G,Y… Peggy.” The other words, some of which I expected her to recognize were [STOP, BANG, RING, SCURRY, CRACK, LAWLER, DING, BY].
Of the 27 computer experience words, Peggy recognized 13 and failed to recognize 14.

Recognized words: UP, SUN, BLOCKS (2nd try), GREEN, RECALL, PONY, CAR, ZOOM, GIRL, ZAP, RED, JET, SHOOT

Not Recognized: READING (OK on the computer), DOWN, QUILT, BLACK, HALT, BOY (She noted yesterday this word was a man, which was her interpretation.) INSTRUCTIONS, CITY, FACE, EYE [“face”], PIG (she could not read the word, but when I asked is she could spell PIG, she looked at the Apple and responded “P, I, G”…she can write it but not read it yet). RT, RODS, PICK

What do I make of this ? Some words are stable and over learned. Examples are : ZOOM, SUN, CAR, RECALL. Other words are recognizable but not stable, e.g. SHOOT, BLACK, EYE. One can expect that this transient reading vocabulary will either be stabilized by frequent use or will be forgotten – reduced to confusion with other more dominant words.

At this point, Peggy;s word recognition is not principled. She is not entirely (or even much) sensitive to letter order as a word discriminator, i.e. she should be expected to regularly confuse words such as TRAP and TARP and even couples such as DOG and GOD. On the other hand, she is strongly committed to a left right, letter at a time “reading” and justification.

It is not the case that Peggy is a “reader.” she is however, a “word at a time recognizer” and is in the process of building up the specific atoms of alphabetic language knowledge from which she will be later able to make phonological generalizations and orthographics discriminations.

3V1499.1

3V1499.01 Use of speech generators by Peggy: no detail (3/82)

3V1534.2

3V15??.01 Spontaneous observation that “recalling” has “recall” in it. (TI tape loading display): no detail

obviously uncertain dating here

3V1780.1

3V1780.01 Peggy Paris 10 (12/6/82)

Three segments, first reading “Hop on Pop”; second on left and right; third on using phrases with CITY micro-world.

Lack of translation from text to speech & vice versa is deep: no 1-1 correspondence at verbal level; lack of letter-sound correspondence; left-right distinction is firm (now with the sign correct) – very nice example of left turn and right turn as “absolutes” ie. facing camera turn left = LT 90 (a la instruction) ; second left turn is LT 360 to face in same direction as original left turn, same for right turn.

CITY mild interest. She really wants to make shapes on her own -> interface for name accessible editing of shapes.

3V1784.1

3V1784.01 Paris, Last Note (12/10/82)

I asked Peggy if she wanted to use the TI computer this morning, volunteering to set up whatever she wants. In a little while she asked if she could make a shape. I wrote for her what to key. She’s now working on a shape.

Last night I read to Peggy. The main idea I wanted to communicate is that words represent sounds and that reading is interpreting the words as sounds. I’ve decided to teach Peggy to read. My ideas on how to do that are unformed as yet. Last night, I asked what a word in our story meant, what sound it made (“pig” in lower case). Peg didn’t know. I told her. She recognized the sound and located the other instances in the text — her favorite story in Scary’s book of nursery tales (Five little Pigs – for which she knows the story line, dialogue, and toe-association game).

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RAL protocol 01-A5

RAL protocol 01-A6

RAL protocol 01-A7

RAL protocol 01-A8

LC1bT02

LC1bT02 Protocol 2

Included Text Pages (2)

Discussion
RAL Discussion before Protocol 2

Protocol 2.1
RAL Protocol 2.1

Included Materials (3)

RAL 2-A1 Terminal Log

RAL 2-A2 Terminal Log with Notes

RAL 2-A3 Terminal Log

LC1bT03

LC1bT03 Protocol 3

Included Text Pages

RAL protocol 3.1

RAL protocol 3.2

RAL protocol 3.3

RAL protocol 3.4

Included Materials

RAL protocol 3-A1

RAL protocol 3-A2

LC1bT04

LC1bT04 Protocol 4

Included Text Pages (2)

RAL protocol 4.1

RAL protocol 4.2

Included Materials (3)

RAL protocol 4.1 Add1

RAL protocol 4.1 Add2

RAL protocol 4.1 Add3

LC1bT05

LC1bT05 Protocol 5

Drawing a Fox (cf. discussion in Development of Objectives)
n.b. hand-written date at top of first page in error by 2 years.

Included Text Pages

Included Materials

LC1bT06

LC1bT06 Protocol 6

Included Text Pages (2)

RAL protocol 6.1

RAL protocol 6.2

Included Materials (2)

RAL protocol 6-A1

RAL protocol 6-A2

LC1bT13

LC1bT13 Protocol 13

Included Text Pages (7)

RAL protocol 13.1

RAL protocol 13.2

RAL protocol 13.3

RAL protocol 13.4

RAL protocol 13.5

RAL protocol 13.6

RAL protocol 13.7

Included Materials (6)

Figure 1
RAL protocol 13 Figure 1

Addendum 1
RAL protocol 13-A1

Addendum 2
RAL protocol 13-A2

Addendum 3
RAL protocol 13-A3

Addendum 4
RAL protocol 13-A4

Addendum 5
RAL protocol 13-A5

Vn00201

Vn002.01

Productive Cheating

5/9/77

Today was a difficult day. Snow in mid-May for a beginning. Before that problem appeared, Miriam came early with me in to Logo in our joint expectation of going to the Coop to buy a hula hoop. With that option closed by inclement weather, Miriam pushed me early in the afternoon to proceed with the day’s experiment. We proceeded as described in Logo Session 4.

Gretchen and Robby reached the lab later and Robby chose not to engage himself in my work with Miriam, preferring to play with SHOOT by himself in the central portion of the Children’s Learning Lab. Sam Lewis, another child frequently at Logo and a year older than Robby, played with him in the lab at that time. When Miriam declared a break from our work in writing a story, I discussed (with Gretchen) the children’s use of SHOOT and how I was awaiting their discovery of how to cheat. Instead of using the SHOOT : DISTANCE program to project the turtle into the target (which evaluates his location after movement and immediately judges the movement a ‘hit’ or a ‘miss’), one may locate the turtle within the target with a series of forward and turning commands; then, guaranteed of a bull’s-eye, execute SHOOT 0 to register one’s score. Such was my explanation. I noted that the most efficient cheat would be to execute a ‘HOME’ command (which puts the turtle in the target with a single command), then SHOOT 0.

Because of the snow and Miriam’s disinclination to proceed with writing a second story, I suggested Gretchen take the children home while I proceeded with some work they could not be involved in. Robby was most eager to stay and play with SHOOT. After a slow start in the first 3 Logo sessions, Robby was developing skill quickly. He had already, as he noted, scored 5 points that afternoon, and wanted to go on while doing well. I reluctantly agreed. I agreed because I believe the children should be allowed to follow active interests. My agreements was reluctant because I did not want Robby to make further significant advances without my observation. This is precisely what happened. As we discussed the day at supper, Robby noted that he had a good afternoon. His second use of SHOOT garnered him 9 points, giving him a total of 16 (? ). . . this may include in his calculation points from the 3 earlier sessions). Robby then added he had figured out how to score every time. “How?” Robby explained that after drawing the target, the turtle goes ‘Home’ before going somewhere [a setting of his heading and location to random values] and that if one were to key ‘H’ or ‘Home’, then SHOOT 0, he would score every time. To be certain Robby was saying what I thought I posed these questions.

Bob Suppose you key ‘H’, carriage return?
Robby The turtle goes to the center of the target.
Bob Like this?
Robby Yes. Then you say SHOOT 0. illustration:
Bob And what does the turtle say? target and turtle
Robby Ouch. Your score is 1.

I asked Robby if Sam had showed him that and received a negative answer and the claim that he had figured it out himself. I recall informing Robby, before his second terminal session of the day, that because of his squabble with Miriam in Logo Session 3, I changed the SHOOT program so that if the turtle were within the target after execution of GO-SOMEWHERE, he would be made to GO-SOMEWHERE-ELSE, i.e. land at a different location.

Miriam then confided to Robby in her most conspiratorial stage whisper: “Robby, you shouldn’t have told me; I’m going to do that every time.”

I pursued this question, asking Robby whether he had used this new idea to score all his points during the afternoon. Robby denied it, saying the trick didn’t work. I was surprised (it should work perfectly) and asked why not. Robby said the computer would respond ‘You didn’t tell me how to H or Home.’ I asked if he knew it wouldn’t work and how. The answer was that he hadn’t tried it, thus he couldn’t say why he knew it didn’t work.

Interpreting this incident depends on how open Robby is with me, generally, and on the extent to which his final comments were an attempt to delude Miriam by convincing her that his discovery isn’t worth attempting. Robby is usually quite open with me. Nonetheless, given the intellectual rivalry between the children, I would not be surprised at Robby’s attempting to throw Miriam off the track of a discovery he made which his revealing to her had made useless to him. An alternative explanation for Robby’s not trying the “Home SHOOT 0” cheat (and perhaps the impetus for it’s coming to his mind) is my explaining that I had modified SHOOT to forbid those lucky landings of the turtle within the target. He may have believed any time the turtle were found in the the circle at the beginning of executing the SHOOT procedure he would GO-SOMEWHERE-ELSE before being shot at the target. [Indeed, such is possible and is the way one would prohibit the ‘forward and turn commands/SHOOT 0’ cheat if one were so inclined.]

This incident promises further interest in that part of my intention is to guide Miriam’s concerns from getting a correct answer to attending to the process and operations by which one can achieve an answer. Her obvious engagement with the desire to succeed immediately will lead her to pursue Robby’s discovery. I expect and intend to have her succeed thus. My following countermove (which will be to relocate the target off center screen) may show how too simple “an answer” is inadequate and must give way to deeper comprehension of process by which “an answer” is developed. When, later, both children realize they can still succeed by deferring execution of SHOOT until the turtle has been relocated within the target circle through forward and turn commands, they will have extracted all the value they can get from the use of this introductory game.

Vn00401

Vn004.01

The Clever Hack (2)

5/12/77

At dinner this evening we talked over some of the incidents of the day. It had been one of novelty for Robby. His friend John (the son of a former naval officer with whom Robby shares an interest in naval battles and model building) came to Logo with Robby as a stopping point on a visit to the Hart Nautical Museum (a museum of models) in MIT building 5. Miriam stayed at Logo with me (the events are recorded in Logo session 7) while Gretchen took the boys to the museum. By the time the boys had returned, Miriam and I had finished our work for the day. While we played otherwheres with a hula hoop and some tennis balls, Gretchen and the boys went into the music room where Robby introduced John to SHOOT. When Miriam heard of this at dinner, she said, “I should have shown John the clever hack.”

The immediate surfacing of this suggestion to Miriam’s mind made me curious about what role, if any, it had played in Robby’s introducing John to SHOOT. These selections, from the transcription made by the chance of the tape recorder’s having been left running, are extracted from Logo session 7.

GretchenWhy don’t you play SHOOT?
Robby That’s a good idea. (To John) Let’s play SHOOT.
John What is this SHOOT?
Robby [Robby logs into Logo, reads the file “SHOOT from secondary storage] You’ll want to see SETUP. Are you looking at the screen?
John Yeah.
Robby [executes the procedure SETUP. The procedure clears the terminal display, then puts a message on the logging portion of the display and creates a ‘screen’ (a movement domain for the turtle); the procedure increases the screen size in steps until it reaches the standard size, thereby pretending to simulate the distant first appearance of something coming into view. While the screen size increases, messaged are printed on the logging portion of the display. Robby reads them.]
Robby Look in the sky!
It’s a bird — it’s a plane.
No, it’s super turtle.
(The SETUP procedure then draws a bull’s eye on the screen and sets the turtle at random location and heading.)
Gretchen I never saw that before. Why don’t you explain to John what you are doing? (When Robby fails to respond, Gretchen continues), The object. . . this is the turtle, and the line in the middle shows which way he is pointing. The object is to get the turtle pointing towards the target. And then say SHOOT-
Robby Something.
Gretchen A certain distance. . . and see if he stops, if that gets him to the target.
Robby [keying]
GretchenRobby has just made a turn of 90 degrees. You try to get it lined up. Now he has to figure out how far to tell it to go.
Robby Yes! (meaning his shot hit the target)
Gretchen Just made it. If it’s a hit, the turtle says ‘ouch’. [exits]
John(laughs) . . . Can I try?
RobbyNo. I want to show you something. [keying] H . . . (then realizing he has omitted the carriage return) Oh . . . Now SHOOT O. It worked! Isn’t that a great trick?
JohnYeah.
RobbyIt’s sort of easy.
JohnHow do you do it? Show me how to do it. I want a turn.
Robby(after shooting successfully at the target, but in no way describing what he did). Here, John. You do everything now.
John Well, you have to help me.
Robby O.K. Right or left?
John Right. I want to do right . . . What do I do?
Robby I want to go home.
John What button do I push? This one? To aim it at this?
Robby Oh, . . . just do Home, SHOOT O.
John No, I don’t want to.
Robby [keying in Home, carriage return, despite John’s preferences] Just say SHOOT O. He’s already at Home . . . I want to go to my house, do you?
John What would we do there, Robby?
Robby Play soccer . . . play in the tree fort.
John SHOOT O. Oh, come on. (shortly after this point, the tape ran out)

Out of three cycles of SHOOT (from setting the target through hitting it), the clever hack was used for two, the basic turtle commands being used for the first cycle. In the second cycle, Robby clearly paraded for John a solution to a problem John could not appreciate. The second use of the clever hack was to short-circut John’s interest in finding out “how to do it”; by appealing to John’s interest in achieving the objective, Robby attempted to circumvent the more time consuming process of showing how to play the game. The mark of the clever hack in both uses is its salience; whenever little time is given to the problem solving process, either through motives of setting a dramatic effect or simply to reach a quick solution, the clever hack comes into its own.

Vn02601

Vignette 26.1 The Clever Hack (3) 6/13/77

After not using the SHOOT programs for nearly a month, today (in
Logo Session 24) Miriam returned to playing with that game. She started
using the Clever Hack to run up her score (keying ‘H’ followed by
‘SHOOT 0’; the former locates the turtle inside the origin-centered
target, the latter guarantees a hit). I showed her then that in the
interim I had added a new feature to SHOOT, the option (under control
of a switch) of having the target relocate as well as the turtle after
every hit.

This fact came up in our conversations after dinner. Robby was
quite pleased with the letter he had written (using the LETTER program,
Logo Session 24) to a friend in Connecticut. Miriam interjected, “You
know what Daddy did today. He made SHOOT so tricky the clever hack
doesn’t work any more.” What struck me was Miriam’s tone — she was
imparting to Robby some shocking news.

My intention is to lead Miriam to the discovery that she can get
the turtle inside the target area using forward and turn commands
(deferring execution of the SHOOT procedure until certain of a hit).
I will describe such an action as a clever tactic. My objective is to
introduce to her a set of distinctions which focus on the particularity
of a problem’s solution: the ‘hack’ (like the gambit) being the most
context dependent; the ‘tactic’ being a set of specific actions which
may be catenated to solve any member of a class of well-understood
problems; and the ‘strategy,’ a set of actions one employs where the
goal is clear but the appropriate operations and intermediate states
are not obviously limited.

Vn04201

Vn42.1 7/6/77

Because the High School Studies Program begins next week and the
lab will be filled with teenagers all day every day, we moved into my
office the equipment not to be used by the high school students: the
slot machine, the floor turtle, and the music box.
Since moving things around brings change and sometimes adventure,
I asked the children to come to Logo though no computer sessions was
planned. In a day full of disorganization, pushing, pulling, and helping
out, the greatest excitement for the children was in re-routing
data lines from the terminals to the computer. This involved lifting
up floor panels. The floor panel lifter goes in place with a loud
bang as it’s slammed down. The panels are heavy — a challenge Robby
can barely meet and Miriam feigns attempting. They greeted the under-
floor space, a dark maze of tangled wires, as a new, mysterious world
and began prospecting in the openings for souvenirs. As Hal Abelson
and I traced wires, the children invented impromptu games — being
stranded on islands or trapped by moats with escape possible only by
the fine balance that permitted them to walk on the floor panel holding
frame.

Margaret Minsky agreed to move to make room for the equipment in
our office. The children decided this was now their office, which
required getting nameplates for the door. They further dubbed the room
‘The Little Learning Lab’ since they were little (to distinguish it
from the Children’s Learning Lab which the high schoolers would be
taking over). Pope’s couplet

A little learning is a dang’rous thing:
Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring.

and the obvious joke that this was a lab where little learning takes
place caused me pause but no inhibition so severe as to halt their
momentum.

Each child was allotted one of my 3 bookshelves, which they
provisioned as best they could. We walked to the Coop to buy each child
a large notebook for keeping the pictures they made with the Logo
printer. As we three trekked across the campus, the children fell
into ‘Follow the Leader’ and an immediate argument over who should be
leader. My turn-taking suggestion (one to the Coop, the other on the
way back) was no solution: it left the problem of who should be leader
first. Robby went first despite objections. Miriam undercut him by
giving Robby turtle commands to follow the obvious path whenever that
path was clear. To the Coop and back this game gradually was elaborated
as Robby raised syntactic quibbles to avoid doing what Miriam
commanded. For example, “You haven’t told me how to forward 30” (by
which he indicated that Miriam had not verbally specified that a space
separated the word ‘forward’ from the word ’30’). The most puzzling
impediment Robby introduced occurred while we were returning, skirting
the side of building 26. Miriam tried to make Robby walk into the wall
by commanding left 90 (to be followed by a forward). He stopped and
said nothing. After several commands and repetitions, Robby burst out
laughing. “You haven’t done a carriage return!” Miriam said, “New
line!” and Robby obliged her by walking into the wall.

Relevance
This vignette recounts the excitement of a moving day at Logo and
an example of how Playing Turtle arose as a game outside the lab.

Post script

This game of ‘Follow the Turtle’ has become a common game the
children engage in whenever we three walk together where there is no
crowd.

Vn04401

Vn44.1 A Boring Session 7/12/77

Riding home after this morning’s session (Logo Session 38) Miriam
said she thought the work was boring today. When I asked why, she said,
“Oh, I don’t know.” I have to look otherwheres for an explanation.

Today I tried to exhibit for Miriam the relation between closed
polygons and in-going spirals sufficiently regular to be judged ‘mazes’
rather than ‘pretty pictures.’ (Cf. Addenda 1 and 2). Yesterday Miriam
suggested for today that she would like to try to get more good numbers
for making mazes. I believe she had in mind a result like that of Logo
Session 27 (where we made a list of the members found with the ANGLE
procedure for making ‘pretty pictures.’) I made such a result our ob-
jective, but Miriam showed little interest in the work.

Note that Miriam was feeling sick this morning before we came to
MIT and also during the session. She ws disinclined to come in today
but agreed when I pointed out that we would be away from the lab for
the next 2 weeks. It may be that this was just a ‘bad day’ for her,
but I incline to believe I’ve been pushing her too hard in one direction .
(Turtle Geometry variable separation).

After we finished trying to find good mazes, Miriam began drawing
at my desk. She asked, “Hey, Daddy, how much is 14 and 14?” “Let’s
ask Logo,” I replied and keyed the expression. This captured her
interest. “I want to do some numbers.” Miriam keyed addends of about
20 digits each. Logo produced an answer in floating point format.
Miriam said, “That’s funny. It’s got a dot in it. That can’t be right.
I guess Logo doesn’t add very good.”

After Miriam complained about the session on the way home, I asked
the children what we could do to make the sessions better. Robby said
the day would have been OK if the printer worked, if we had been able
to make pictures out of designs. Miriam said she would just rather do
some adding instead.

Relevance
This vignette discusses the circumstances surrounding a Logo
Session Miriam found boring. I suspect I’ve been pushing her too
hard. Though the conclusion is uncertain, I feel it’s appropriate
to go easy for a while.

Post Script

Miriam decided to take off the next 2 days, so we did not go into
the lab again until the 15th of July.

Addendum 44-1

My files no longer contain this figure, if they ever did.
I suppose it was intended to show the collection of the
regular polygons (triangle, square, pentagon, etc.) to be
followed by Addendum 44-2 below, as an example of a “maze.”

Addendum 44-2

Hexagonal Maze

Vn 44-2 Hexagonal Maze

Vn05101

Vn51.1 Paper Ships 7/25/77

This has been a rainy, midsummer day with both children at home in
an acoustically live house. Having slept ill last night, under pressure
of the noise and our common confinement, I went to bed early. When the
children failed to fall silent instantly, I “yelled” at them, i.e. I
told them quite specifically that I had suffered too much of their noise
and commotion, that I needed sleep and they must be quiet.

Because of the rainy day bedlam, I had failed during most of the
day to make headway in my thinking about Miriam’s computations and my
understanding thereof. As I drifted into sleep, some imperfectly
remembered lyric from my early school days entered my mind:

. . . put down 6 and carry two —
Oh oh oh. Oh oh oh.
Gee, but this is hard to do
Oh oh oh. Oh oh oh. . . .

No greater fragment remains of that song, but I imagined that situation
and the woman conducting that song, and then another:

Some folks like to cry,
Some folks do, some folks do.
Some folks like to sigh,
But that’s not me nor you.
Long live the merry, merry heart
That laughs by night or day.
I’m the queen of mirth —
No matter what some folks say.

This ditty carried me along to a better feeling, one wherein I was
capable of feeling ashamed of my ill behavior to the children and happy
that our relationship was one where I could apologize to them and they
be capable of accepting that apology.

I called Robby. He entered my bedroom quietly and was obviously
relieved when I told him I was feeling better and was sorry I had been
so crabby. He asked if I would help him with a problem. When I agreed,
Miriam entered and pounced on me. (This was easy since my ‘bed’ was a
sleeping bag on the floor.) Robby returned with the book Curious George
Rides a Bike
. Both children had been attempting to make paper boats
following the instructions on pp. 17-18 (Cf. Addendum 51 – 1, 2). Robby
was stalled at step 5 and Miriam at step 3 of this 10-step procedure.

Both children were working with small (tablet size) pieces of paper.
I was sleepy and unfamiliar with the procedure, so instead of looking
at their problems, I first made a boat myself. A nearby newspaper pro-
vided paper of size large enough to escape folding-small-pieces-of-paper
bugs. When I reached step 3, Miriam noted that as the locus of her
impediment. When I asked, “Oh, you’ve got a bug there, sweety?” she
responded, “Yes. An I-don’t-know-what-to-do-next bug.” I slipped my
thumbs inside the paper and pulling at the side centers, brought the
ends together. Miriam said, “Oh, I get it now,” and continued with her
folding. (She had not been able to identify that transformation, failing
most likely to interpret the arrows and -ING STAR, that portion of the
newspaper masthead still visible after the folding as a clue.)

When Miriam some time later attempted step 7 (bringing the ends together
a second time), her construct disassembled. After I suggested she
hadn’t tucked in the corners carefully, Miriam described it as a ‘no-
tuck-in bug.’

In the transformation from step 9 to 10, because the central crease
must suffer a perpendicular crease in the opposite sense, one usually
has trouble pulling down the ends without the assembly’s failing. When
both children had made several boats, I asked Miriam what bugs she had
uncovered. She cited the original two and a third, the ‘last-pull-apart
bug.’

The construction expanded. The newspaper pieces made battleships
(and stopping half-way, hats). Miriam made life boats and Robby, by
unfolding a newsprint page before beginning the folding procedure, made
a large, flimsy craft he dubbed an aircraft carrier. It was a small
step to carrier war in the Pacific (my bed as Pearl Harbor) and the
pillow fight which ended this war.

Relevance
These observations show Miriam using the word ‘bug’ to describe
the difficulties she encounters in executing a complex procedure, both
with some direction and more nearly spontaneously.

Addendum 51-1

Vn 51-1 Curious George paper folding

Addendum 51-2

Vn 51-2 Curious George Paper Ship procedure

Vn05801

Vn58.1 Owning an Angle 8/4/77

As far back as the end of June (in Logo Session 32) making hexagonal
mazes has been a part of both children’s Logo work. Before our Connecticut
vacation both children worked together generating pictures of mazes
(7/8/77: Logo Session 36). During that session, Miriam “discovered” the
60 degree angle input creates a hexagonal spiral. During today’s session
Robby generated a “family of mazes,” including the hexagonal form with
the other regular spirals of integer angles (120, 90, 72, 60, 45, 30).
Both Robby and I were quite pleased with his work of the day and hung
on the wall the pictures made by the spiral procedure with those inputs.

While we were preparing to leave, Miriam entered my office (now
dubbed the ‘little learning lab’). Robby, naturally enough, showed her
his pictures — at which she complained vigorously that he had used
“her” angle of 60 degrees. One could dismiss the complaint as a
manifestation of sibling rivalry or a more general jealousy that I praised
his work. Nonetheless, it is clear that Miriam saw “her” hexagonal
maze as a unique object in a collection of other objects.

Relevance
Miriam’s complaint has been repeated frequently in the weeks
following its surfacing.

Vn06001

Vn60.1 Surprise Party 8/8/77

Spoiled by living in the air-conditioned comfort of our Connecticut
home during the mid-July heat wave, when the next spell of hot weather
found us in the hot air heated loft of our Boston carriage house little
persuading was needed to induce Gretchen to join Miriam and me at Logo
yesterday. With the hot weather continuing and both children expecting
to do an experiment this morning, it was a natural consequence that
Gretchen should join us at her later convenience, bringing lunch if she
so chose, and plan to spend the afternoon at the lab.

We three gave Gretchen birthday presents, wished her happy birth-
day, and sped off to our morning’s work at Logo. As we drove across
town in the MG, I broached the idea of a surprise party with the chil-
dren. They were as enthusiastic as I was and far more certain that it
would work out.

We completed our morning’s experiment, enjoyed together the lunch
Gretchen brought a little later, and settled down each to his afternoon’s
occupation: the children browbeat Margaret Minsky to carry them around
and played at frisbee with the students of the HSSP; I worked at data
transcription; and Gretchen read a book newly selected from the library.
I had alerted a few friends and hoped others would drop by the lab in
the afternoon. Since the children and I planned to get an ice-cream
birthday cake, we had to concoct some plausible excuse for the three of
us to ride off leaving Gretchen behind at Logo. My script’s argument
called for moving the MG from a block away to the Tech Square lot to
render easier carrying down to the car the remains of lunch, my recor-
ding equipment, and so forth. The children were to set up a cry in
their normal fashion that they wanted to go for a ride with me.

Our little ruse worked a little bit, for Gretchen surely knew it
was her birthday and the children kept approaching me to whisper, “Is
it time to go get the cake?” The circumstance that gave away the secret
was unforseeable. We moved the MG at 3 o’clock, thereby escaping the
earlier ban on cars without the appropriate parking stickers. Gretchen
said her car was parked on the street right in front of mine and she
should walk along to move hers also. I tendered some completely inade-
quate reason for not doing so, and Gretchen was sufficiently insightful
not to push the argument.

We picked out a cake at Baskin-Robbins. Robby held the cake on
the way back (the privileged function) and Miriam rode in the boot (the
seat of choice). We gathered a collection of dishes, forks, and friends
and sprung our surprise on Gretchen. She was pleased.

As is the case with most Logo parties, as many people were absent
as present; the place seems sometimes a crossroads in the paths of
over-committed people, but Andy, Donna, Margaret, Marvin, José, and the
children and I met the challenge of consuming Gretchen’s birthday cake.

Relevance
This vignette shows the children in preparing a surprise birthday
party. This informal party was more or less typical of those at Logo
in that the summer dispersion and other commitments kept the size
small and made the guest list a nearly random selection of people from
the lab.

Vn07501

Vn75.1 Logo Seahorses 8/29/77

At the end of the day’s work (Logo Session 56), when the recording
equipment was packed away for the trip home, I was preparing material
for tomorrow’s session. Robby had been using procedures where DELTA
named a variable increment applied to a linear distance and today was
introduced to a use of DELTA as an angle increment. I had written a
POLYSPI analogue procedure (call it “A”; examine its listing on Addendum
75 – 1) and was showing it to Gretchen. (An execution of “A” creates
1 of the s-shaped curves in the picture of the addendum.)

Miriam entered my office and asked, “What’s that, Daddy?” I told
her it was a SEAHORSE and tried to distract her attention. This is work
I intend to pursue with Miriam in the near future, and did not want to
expose it to her early. Miriam was most insistent; she wanted to do
SEAHORSE. I would not tell her how to spell it. She spelled ‘SEA’
then got Robby’s help in spelling ‘HORSE.’ When Logo complained that
no one had told it how to SEAHORSE, Miriam complained to me. I relented
and wrote this procedure:

        TO SEAHORSE
        1  A  10  60  2
        END

Miriam cleared the screen and was delighted when SEAHORSE executed
to create the figure she expected. She called Robby, executed it a
second time. He remarked, “It looks like you’re making something.”
“I am,” declared Miriam. “A flower.” She proceeded through another 7
executions and happily printed her flower in triplicate — with copies
for Robby and me.

Relevance
This vignette documents Miriam’s engagement in a small project
(which won’t appear in the Logo Session recordings), her attraction by
something not-quite-familiar, her elaboration of the artifact of the
procedure through repetition, and her fitting in the developing design
to a class of objects she is accustomed to. (To Miriam, the ‘flowers’
of drawing or design include any shape of manifest circular symmetry).

Post Script:

Miriam was sufficiently pleased with her SEAHORSE/FLOWER to send
copies to her great-grandmother (G.G.) and to her friend Maria (who has
moved to Spain). To the latter’s copy she appended a hand-written note:
‘I made this on the computer’.

Addendum 75-1