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Geometry Microworld for the Valiant Turtle


The Geometry Microworld does not aim to provide a 'scheme of work' for Primary school geometry, nor is it suggested that this is the only way of approaching the topic. What is suggested is that the Valiant Turtle, alongside other materials, can serve as a particularly expressive medium for exploring some of the properties of space.

Controlling the Valiant Turtle involves the children in the early stages of LOGO programming in which the Turtle becomes, as Papert has put it, an "object to think with". The Geometry Microworld has three main themes:

This is presented in two sections; measurement of distances and measurement of angles.
2) POLYGONS (and polyhedra)
Some basic ideas of two- and three-dimensional geometry are developed and a variety of problems posed and investigations initiated. This theme involves an introduction to programming with Turtle Graphics. Some of the earlier work can be done with the Valiant Turtle by 'direct driving' but the opportunity exists to introduce the definition of procedures, variables and recursion whenever it seems appropriate.
Beginning with the circle, a variety of other curves are now made available for investigation.

The materials presented in the Geometry Microworld follow a sequence: first learning how to use the LOGO 'Primitive' commands, then combining the Primitives to form rudimentary programs and finally activities in which the child could use sophisticated programming techniques involving recursion, variables etc.. The teacher should be cautioned against believing that the children will, or should, follow this sequence. The teacher needs to use great sensitivity when intervening in the learning situation.

The children's story, 'Myrtle and the Time Machine', takes artistic licence with history. The notes on the Egyptians and the Greeks are offered, in the first place, for the teacher's information, but could well be re-presented in some form to older children.

The whole sequence of activities could be carried out by groups of children over a relatively short span of time. However, it might be more profitably tackled piecemeal over a long period, the depth of the treatment being varied according to the needs and the interests of the children.

The software provided is intended primarily for demonstration. At some stage the procedures could be examined, modified and used as a basis for further investigations.


The work suggested can easily consume a quantity of large sheets of paper or card.

A lot of expense can be saved by using cheap materials like sugar-paper, newsprint, or scrap paper of various kinds. The drawing of nets and cut-out shapes will require heavy paper or thin card. The ultimate solution to the problem of supply is to locate a source of suitable paper or card that is normally discarded as rubbish e.g. a supermarket, or, even better, a paper mill, printing works or some company disposing of old stock very cheaply.

If permanent copies of some of the activities are needed they are better drawn out on good quality paper or card.

Otherwise, the materials needed to support the basic activities are those commonly available in schools: scissors, adhesive tape, glue (impact adhesive is best for the models), 2 cm squared paper and, if possible 2 cm isometric grid paper.


PAPERT. S. Mindstorms: Children. Computers and Powerful Ideas Harvester 1981
NOSS. R. Starting LOGO (Interim Report No 1of the Chiltern MEP LOGO Project) AUCBE 1983
NOSS, R. Children Learning LOGO Programming (Interim Report No 2 of the Chiltern LOGO Project) AUCBE 1984
GOODYEAR. P. LOGO: A Guide to Learning through Programming. Ellis Horwood/
Heinemann 1984
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