3V1409.01 Focus on the BLOCKS World (12/1/81)

The BLOCKS world on the TI-99 is one I made to offer Peggy a number familiarization game similar to RODS (in using numbers as names of objects) but different in not relating to size or order.

BLOCKS permits Peg to display up to nine square blocks (each clearly numbered in its shape) in a vertical display at screen right. She can then activate a block by keying its corresponding number on the keyboard. When active, blocks number is replaced by an arrow pointing in one of four orientations. Colors may also be selected (by letters Q through P). The single key commands for the active block are WALK, STOP, FD, BK; RT LT.

What is surprising is that Peggy has taken up this microworld consistently during the past week. She has asked to play with it, done so for long periods, and left it running on the machine all day. Her typical activity is to activate a block, make it walk, and assign it a color. She started by requesting 5 blocks (and now regularly selects nine) — I would say she knows that “9” is many more than “5”, as she did not before, even though she can not regularly and dependably count so high. only a week or so ago, she could not count past 5, but now she counts blocks up to nine, ie did so in tape P202 on 12/6/81. And now always asks for “9” (thought verbally out of sequence, identified that symbol as “0” — the last one she is requested o key as an artifact of a TI logo bug.)

Robby and Miriam have used this microworlds when Peggy left it running on the machine. Typically, they produce more displays by using RT and LT to send some of the block s off at perpendicular angles, whereas Peggy had all blocks heading at 270 (the original direction). As Robby played with BLOCKS, raising by his reactions the issue of when and which perpendicularly moving blocks would collide. Peggy has begun adding such “crashing” scenario to her initial “this one is ahead” way of describing what was going on.

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