Squeak is open source object-oriented programming software based on Smalltalk. In Squeak, the first step is to draw an object, (you can also import one) which you then animate or program using a wide variety of programming menus provided in the object’s viewer. Squeak offers extensive connections to math and science which arise at each step of the process. While students can work through tutorials and learn the language quickly on their own, it offers endless teachable moments during more directed lessons that will extend and apply advanced math and science concepts.
Squeak is a phenomenal programming experience for children beginning in early grades. The opportunity to easily create the object using a familiar paintbox tool is appealing and engaging. Once the object is created, it can quickly be animated to draw polygons or create pictures with its pen trail. Next your students can create a wheel that will “drive” the object and the focus becomes compass headings as you direct your object around the “world”. Soon you create tests – if…then…and then add random number rules. All this is accomplished in several sessions of total, absolute engagement! While younger children love the drawing aspect, older students will gain from the rapid complexity available in the programming.
The program is available for free (no registration/email addresses, etc. required) at Squeakland.org Squeakland. At Squeakland you will also find useful tutorials, which are essential to getting started. Below are the most up-to-date collection of links. In order to see any of the Squeak projects, you must first download the Squeak plug in from Squeakland.org.
Jenni Swanson Voorhees' Squeak page is kept up to date and she continues to add more links as they appear: Squeak! Jenni's Squeak Page
There are interesting Squeak projects being developed on the Nasa Site.
Below are a series of "Swikis" (Squeak + wiki = swiki) that have projects posted from schools and students of a variety of ages: