CSE 203 Lesson Plan – Arrays

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Importance of Learning This Topic

The topic of “arrays” is far and away the single most important topic in this course. An array is a structure that allows huge quantities of data to be stored and organized in a single container. Once that data is stored, a program can be designed using loops that can visit every piece of the data. While visiting the data of an array, the program can apply algorithms that will somehow:

  1. Visit some or all of the data.

  2. Change some or all of the data in the array with arithmetic, boolean, string or other operations.

  3. Summarize some or all of the data by addition, concatenation or other operations.

  4. Output some or all of the data &/or changes &/or summaries to a screen, printer, disc drive or flash drive.

    1. Sequence of Learning

      1. Show Gerry Donaldson’s PowerPoint slide show on Arrays.
        • It uses everyday metaphors to describe the nature and scope of arrays in generic terms that stand alone without knowledge of a computer programming language.

        • It discusses the metacognitive instances and significance of thinking in terms of arrays.

        • It presents several simple illustrations of the creation and use of arrays in the Java computer programming language.

        • It uses representations of arrays to show that a model that is powerful for understanding the structure of arrays in terms of a spatial metaphor for one, two and three dimensional arrays then becomes an inhibiting obstacle to thinking about

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          arrays with more dimensions. It illustrates the reward of then switching to a branching metaphor that accurately models many dimensions beyond the three spatial dimensions.

      2. Present Kjell Tutorial 46 (Introduction to Arrays). Teacher projects tutorial pages on a screen in the room. Teacher paces students through the tutorial by reading the text aloud, copy and paste example code into the IDE, compile and execute the code. Yes, students know how to read, but the teacher is modelling and commenting how to integrate a Kjell tutorial with the IDE.

      3. Assign Kjell Exercises 46: 1 (Array Sum), 2 (Two Arrays), 3 (Three Arrays), 4 (Same Sum) and 5 (Reverse Order).

      4. Present Kjell Tutorial 47 (Common Array Algorithms). adam lane

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About the Author:

Gerry Donaldson was Calgary’s first high school teacher to use a lab of personal computers. Gerry taught CSE, including CTS, AP and IB Computer Science, for 30 years before teaching and consulting to the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary.

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