In this class, Mrs. Taricco has taught us general programming concepts as well as how to utilize these in HTML/CSS and Java. We have been taught to analyze algorithms, create and organize efficient code, and even learn new "easy" methods for math! We have been given the chance to complete in a variety of competitions, such as the American Computer Science League (ACSL) and CyberPatriot. As I already knew Java before the course, I was given the opportunity to complete a separate assignment (detailed below) along with some of my classmates.
In preparation for the ACSL competition, we completed many practice programs. My favorite one was titled "Stretch",and involved the creation of a grid, and the bridging of Tetris-like pieces across the grid. We were given a chosen side, the size of the grid, and some "null" spaces, and had to output the pieces required to span the grid while avoiding the null spaces.
As aforementioned, some of my classmates and I got the chance to complete a separate project to show off what we know about computer science--we decided to create a game! It is a rhythm-based first-person puzzle game based around magic and wizardry. Here is a picture of the Main Menu for our game (I drew it from scratch myself)! Sadly, the game is not finished, and so it isn't here for download currently.
Apps For Good (A4G) is a UK-originated movement encouraging students to develop applications which are needed in their communities. Mass Academy brought this movement to the United States, where we spend a portion of the school year in groups of three, creating mobile applications to suit this purpose.
Proper water hydration is a large, yet subtle problem within our community. Up to 82% of the population in any given country are dehydrated and unaware of their water deficiency. This is only a greater problem in the elderly population, especially once the larger potential for memory conditions is taken into account. In order to combat this underlying issue, my group and I decided to create a mobile application--named "Water You Waiting For"--which would help to improve the user's knowledge of their ideal water consumption from first-hand experience. We decided to combine this with our STEM II project, where we made a smart water bottle which automatically communicated with the application over Bluetooth.
The entire A4G project took about two months, which includes the brainstorming, development, and testing processes. The initial start was fairly rough, as we had to ask ourselves what problems existed around us that could be solved through this method. Since we were constantly surrounded by environment around us, it was hard to pull ourselves away and find something untouched. Due to the increasing amount of concern surrounding water pollution in Worcester as well as the number of water shortages nationwide, we decided to settle on a water-related application. From personal experience, many journal articles and competitors worth of research, as well as professional communication (with agencies such as the EPA), we were able to gain a better understanding of the problem in addition to possible avenues to move forward with our application.
We decided to use Java in the Android Studio IDE to program the foundation of the application. We also utilized SQLite to manage our water database and Firebase to manage our user database. We took inspiration from other heath applications--such as Fitbit--in our design. For instance, we included a friends page, allowing users to compete against close friends for greater water consumption. Throughout the project, we went through a rigorous testing process to ensure that any potential errors were minimal, if existent at all. By the end of the project, our application had the ability to take in drinking times and amounts as database entries, display said entries, add friends and compare water consumption, inform you on your progress to your daily goal (calculated by factors such as your weight), and notify you when you haven't had a drink recently.