Design Used to Regenerate

Our new unit is focused on the effect that the design of spaces has on us. This architecture focus will allow us to take a space that may have negative connotations and re-imagine it so that the new feeling is positive. It can be just about any space you can imagine – a room, an office, a playground, a movie theater, a park… – as long as it’s regeneration with benefit others, not just you!

The general TSC for this unit can be found here.

The first major deadline for this unit is February 22, when your presentation for Criterion A is due.

Finishing Up Your Criterion C: Creation

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 9.03.29 AMHappy New Year and welcome back to school! I hope you all had a great holiday! Mine was okay…

At the end of December you all submitted your (up-to-that-point) completed games to me. While this is an important part of the creation process (creating, obviously!), there is a bit more that needs to be submitted.

  1. At the start of the process you created a timeline plan that showed how you were going to use your time and what the priority/order of creation was going to be. I need that.
  2. We start every project with the best of intentions and for whatever reasons we need to make changes. It could be because you came up with a better/different idea to address your design problem. It could be because you needed to re-jig your plan in terms of time and/or order of events. It could be because you came up against a problem that was difficult to solve. What were the major changes you made to your plan/design? Why did you need to make the changes?

#1 should already be done. I just need a scan/copy of that. #2 might take a bit more time to explain (though we already wrote some things down). It might be helpful in some cases to compare what you were planning (screenshot) with what you actually created (screenshot) or to describe the problem you were facing and give a detailed description (with link/references where appropriate) in how you solved it.

Getting to Know Stencyl

Last class we started looking at Stencyl. We should all have it installed and should all be working on completing the tutorial to create our first game. As always, feel free to play/tinker/explore as you are working on the tutorial, but it is important that you make it through the tutorials as you will gain valuable skills! Over the next three classes, here are your tasks:

  1. Crash Course 1

    Complete the Crash Course game. (We’ve already started this! It is designed to take about 30 minutes to complete.) Once you are done, use QuickTime to create a screencast of you playing your game. In your screencast, discuss one or two of the main problems that you solved in order to create this game. What wasn’t working, and what did you do to fix it/figure it out? The video should be no more than 1 – 2 minutes in length. When it is done, upload this video to YouTube.

  2. Crash Course 2

    Complete the Crash Course 2 game. (This tutorial is designed to take 1 – 2 hours to complete.) Once again, when you are done create a screencast of you playing your game. What were the main challenges in this tutorial? What did you discover? How have you remixed the game and made it different from the tutorial? Again, this video should be no more than 1 – 2 minutes in length. When it is done, upload this video to YouTube.

  3. With the time remaining, go through sections in Chapters 2 – 5 of the Stencylpedia. How are you going to document what you have learned/figured out?
  4. The final step of this investigation is to document your learning. Write a blog post and embed the videos from steps 1 and 2 as well as the evidence that you created for step 3. This might be text, images, video or a combination of the three.

Game Over Criterion A: Investigate and Analyze

Game Over - Hamada

Our first unit is focused on creating a video game for others.

You can find the TSC for this unit here. You will need to make a copy of this document and place it in your shared Drive folder.

Remember, the four major sections of your Criterion A work to include are:

  1. statement of the problem, justify the need for a solution;
  2. research plan, including prioritization and primary/secondary;
  3. analysis of existing games;
  4. your design brief which summarizes the analysis of your research

Your Criterion A work will be due at the end of class on September 18. This date is in Veracross!

Welcome to Grade 9 Design!


Welcome to Grade 9 Design for 2015/2016! We have an exciting year ahead of us, with projects dealing with video game design, architecture and robotics.

Take a look at the Class Overview and let’s take care of the following housekeeping items:

  1. Create a folder in Drive called Design 9.
  2. Inside that folder, create a folder called “Design 9 – First Last” (using your first and last name).
  3. Go into your “Shared with Me” folder and add the folders “Design General Documents” and “Design Collaborative Documents” to your Design folder.

That’s it! We’re ready to go!

Welcome to the YIS RoboTriathlon!


The 1st Annual YIS RoboTriathlon is coming up! In teams, Grade 9 students will build robots that can compete in three different events: The Line Following Challenge, The Maze Challenge, and The Sumo Challenge.

There are some resources you can use to get introduced to the intricacies of the Lego Mindstorms EV3, such as basic tutorials, programming tutorialssensor tutorials and intermediate/advanced topics (line following, gear ratios, different build ideas).

Criterion A – Design Brief

In your own words (and individually! No sharing docs, no copy/paste!!), explain the three events of the RoboTriathlon link them to the investigative play that we did for the first two weeks. What programming tutorials do you think are going to help you? What sensors do you think you might want/need? What questions do you still have? Here is the TSC.

Criterion B – Developing Ideas

Individually, come up with an idea for a robot design for each of the three challenges. Think of the programming/behavior, the build, and the sensors needed and how these three elements work together in a cycle. You can draw an annotated diagram for each bot  or explain them clearly in words. Use whatever means that will help you share the idea that is in your head.

Then, in groups you will share you ideas for each bot and reach a consensus for your group’s final design idea. Maybe it is one person’s design, or maybe it is a combination of many ideas. It doesn’t matter as long as there is consensus and everybody is involved. Create an annotated diagram or explain clearly in words what the final design idea is for each bot (three in total). This can be the same for each member of your group.

Individually, you should explain the process that was used to decide the final design. Was there any negotiation? Were there any differing opinions? Were there any other ideas that your group considered? How did you reach a consensus?

Criterion B TSC

Criterion C – Creating and Criterion D – Evaluation

Your group will create a 7 – 10 minute presentation that goes over:

  • how your various bots differed from your original designs (Criterion C);
  • how you felt your various bots performed (Criterion D);
  • what changes you would make for RoboTriathlon 2.0 (Criterion D).

This presentation should include photos of your robots, both during the build and in action. It should also include the voices of all members of your group.


Week starting What?
April 27 Criterion A is due on Monday; work on Criterion B
May 4 Criterion B is due on Monday; begin building, programming, experimenting
May 11 Continue building, programming, experimenting; prep LineBot
May 18 Prep LineBot and MazeBot
May 25 Monday: LineBot Challenge; Class 2: Prep your MazeBot
June 1 June 1: No Class!Class 2: Prep your SumoBot
June 8 Monday:MazeBot Challenge, SumoBot Challenge; Class 2: Prep your presentation
June 15  Monday: Group presentations


Work for Monday

Dear Grade 9,

Building our EV3s

Unfortunately I won’t be in class today.

Equally unfortunate, today is a robot-free day… (That means a day without robots, not a free day with the robots!)

In class today you need to work on the following documentation for our RoboTriathlon:

  1. Write a design brief that explains IN YOUR OWN WORDS the challenges of the upcoming RoboTriathlon. What is it that your team must design and create? How can you connect the last two weeks of practice/research to what you must do for each of the events? Think about building the robot, programming the robot, and using the different sensors.
    • While it is okay for your group to talk about what you have been doing, each person must write their own design brief. No shared documents or copy/paste.
    • Here is the TSC.
  2. Once you are done with that, individually start listing out some ideas for designs for each event. What sensor will it use? How will the programming work? (Remember, your robot needs to be autonomous: once the challenge starts you are not allowed to touch your robot to change programs.) How could you design a robot (or modify your existing one) to best complete the challenge? You could do this in words, in pictures, or as a combination of both so long as it can be interpreted/understood by somebody outside of your group (like your teacher).
    • You may want to design one robot and change the location/mounting/placement of the sensors for each challenge, or you may want to design different robots for each challenge. It’s up to you.
    • You will have one class period between each event to allow you to write your programs and re-build your robot.
  3. Probably not during this class, but once your group has each come up with design ideas individually, you will look at all the designs created by your group members and decide on the final design for your robot(s). You must explain how you made this final choice. Parts 2 and 3 make up Criterion B and will be submitted individually. The TSC isn’t ready yet but it will be soon.

Creating Your PSA

Now that you have a vision for your PSA and have gone through the process of storyboarding, it is time to get creating!

First, your completed PSA and accompanying documentation is to be published/submitted no later than Thursday March 5.

Before you pull out your camera and fire up iMovie (or whatever you are going to use to edit your PSA), it important that you plan out how you are going to use your time. What shots will you need to capture (Shot List)? What props will you need? What images will you use (with attribution)? What sound effects or background music will you use (with attribution)? Who are your actors going to be? What script are you going to use for the dialogue or for your narration? When are you going to do all of this? These are just some of the questions that you probably need to consider before getting started. This is what we will call our Production Plan.

Part of that plan is the shot list. Take a look at this quick tutorial on why and how to make a shot list:

Once you have created your production plan, it is time to get started filming. Some of this filming might be done in class; some might be done outside of school. It is up to you to create that timeline in your plan to ensure that this gets done on time. There are four phases that you need to be aware of:  planning, filming, editing, documentation. All of these need to be done by the deadline.

An important part of the documentation is explaining any changes (especially the major ones!) to your final product. Why does it differ from your storyboard/production plan? How did you decide what changes to make?

Once you have created your plan (must be done first!), you can do the other three parts at the same time. You don’t need to have all of your filming done to start editing, and you don’t need to have a completed PSA to explain the changes you’ve made so far. It will be important that you use your time effectively in and out of class!

You can find the TSCs for Criterion C here.

Developing Ideas for Your PSA

Now that you have identified the topic for your PSA in your design brief, it is time to start the process of developing some ideas. Chances are, based on your research and based on your own creativity, you already have one or two ideas in mind. The purpose of this section is to help you clarify what you intend for your PSA to accomplish (the design specs) and to help you think of different ways to allow that to happen (design ideas). Once you’ve selected the idea you want to create, you must then develop a storyboard that gives your idea more detail.

There are only three constraints that I will impose on your final product:

  • It must be in a video format
  • It must be between 30 – 60 seconds
  • All external media must be ‘ethically sourced’ (Creative Commons, Fair Use, Fair Use FAQs, etc.) and attributed in the video.

You can find the TSCs for this task here.

Design Specifications

To help you develop your design specifications, you can use this template. When you present your specs, you could use this format or change it if you like. Your design specifications should be related to the different categories of research you have done such as the topic you have chosen, the genre of PSAs, or the art of good storytelling. There is no set number of specs you need to write. They should help you define what will make your PSA successful.

Design Ideas

To develop a range of design ideas, you have some choices:

  • You could use words (Pitch Paragraphs) to describe your possible ideas.
  • You could use pictures (very simple diagrams/storyboards) to illustrate your ideas.
  • You could create a mindmap/flow chart for each of your ideas.
  • Something else?

In each case, there should be enough information that one of your classmates can independently understand what you intend to make.

Final Choice

From your range of design ideas, you need to choose one to develop fully and then to create. How are you going to make (and justify!) this choice? It is important that you refer to your design specifications when explaining how you made your decision.

Detailed Plans

Because this is a video, it is helpful to create a storyboard of your final choice that details each of the scenes that you will need to film/create. (Here are some expert tips on how and why to create storyboards.) It doesn’t need to be expertly drawn, but it should include as much detail as you can include to guide your filming. This includes each scene you intend to film (think about the different types of shots you can include in your clip such as establishing shots, medium shots and close-ups), the length of each scene, the story/dialogue in each clip, and any background music or sound effects needed.