Course Level
Knowledge Unit
Fundamental Programming Concepts
Collection Item Type

In this assignment students work as a team to develop chapters of a story where the first and last sentence of the chapter is prescribed. Students first work independently developing their own chapter and then work collaboratively to identify and resolve logical inconsistencies in the chapters in order to produce a final coherent story.  This exercise will allow students to practice problem decomposition, abstraction, and evaluation, and also debugging and testing.

This exercise was developed as part of the NSF-funded Computational Creativity project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Some suggestions:

  • Assign this exercise during the semester when teaching debugging and testing. 
  • It is also good to use this as the middle exercise in our series of Computational Creativity Exercises as this is one that could be seen as outside of students' comfort zone.
  • Encourage students to find the most coherent chapter with respect to the others, use that as an anchor, and then change the other chapters minimally to address the logical inconsistencies.
  • Encourage students to be imaginative, to let their imagination carry them away in their writing of their chapter. Enjoy the storytelling process!
  • Encourage them to not be shy.  However, do encourage teamwork to help bring the chapters into a coherent story. 

For more information on how to implement Computational Creativity exercises, check out the authors' Teaching paper in this collection.

Engagement Highlights

This exercise is un-plugged: students are not required to do any programming. Through our lightbulbs and reflection and analysis questions, the exercise gently instructs students on content Meaningful and Relevant to CS (e.g., problem decomposition) as well as makes Interdisciplinary Connections. Students are required to work collaboratively in teams. The exercise’s use of wiki platform for collaborative writing and forum discussions, facilitates teamwork and student to student interaction inside and outside of the classroom.  Each team is allowed to choose from several series of story points, and then after that selection, each team decides which team member is responsible for which chapter, promoting student choice and fostering creativity.  The exercise is grounded on active learning, with open-ended activities and questions for students to collaborate on.

Computer Science Details

Programming Language

Material Format and Licensing Information

Creative Commons License