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Understanding Variables: Managing Energy Through Movement and Rest

In this activity, you will explore and learn about variables which are very important in both math and computer programming. The variable you will use is your own ENERGY! Doing different movements takes away some of your energy and when you rest, you get some energy back.

#### Let’s get started!

#### How to Prepare:

Collect the following items before you begin:

- Paper & pencil to keep track of your “energy”
- Random-Number Generator
- Set the Minimum to 1 and the Maximum to 6
- Calculator
- Stopwatch or clock to keep track of time
- Space to move around doing the exercises
- Water (to keep you hydrated!)

**Introduction: What are Variables?**

Variables act like “boxes” that can hold and remember information for us, even if the information changes.

In this activity, you have a variable called "energy." You will keep track of how much energy you have as you perform different exercises.

#### Let’s Get Started!

**Step 1:** On your paper, set up a chart to track the following variables:

- Energy
- Jumping jacks (how many to do AND how much energy is used)
- Dancing (how long to dance AND how much energy is used)
- Energy changes

Use the example below to set up your tracking chart.

**Step 2: **Use the Number Generator to randomly choose how many jumping jacks you will do and how long you will dance for the first round of exercise.

__Jumping Jacks__: the number you generate is the number of energy points you will “use up”. Multiply that same number by 2 to determine how many jumping jacks you will actually do. Example:

- Your number generator gives you a 4
- 4 x 2 = 8, so you will do 8 jumping jacks
- When you do the 8 jumping jacks, you will take 4 points away from your energy total

__Dancing__: generate a new number. That number is how many energy points you will take away from your total. Multiply that number by 5 to find out how many seconds you need to dance. Example:

- Your number generator gives you a 3
- 3 x 5 = 15, so you will dance for 15 seconds
- After you dance for 15 seconds, take 3 points off your energy total

Write your numbers in the chart. You will begin this activity with an Energy Level of 30, removing points as explained above, based on the numbers you get from your number generator.

*Example:*

**Step 3: Get Moving!** Make sure you have plenty of space, and do the moves. Complete your jumping jacks and then dance around!

**Step 4:** Rest for 30 seconds. While you rest, you gain back 3 points of energy, so add these back and record your total remaining energy points. Your first round is now complete.

**Step 5:** Repeat steps 2-4: generate new jumping jack and dancing numbers, write them down, exercise, then rest. The energy points to start each new round is the same as the energy points left from the previous round.

**The GOAL is to see how many rounds of activity and rest it takes until you have an energy score as close to 0 as possible.**

💡 **Tips:**

- Make sure to write down every new number. How many times do I do a move? How long do I rest?
- Double-check your math to make sure you are adding and subtracting energy points correctly.
- Have fun and try different activities to see how they change your energy levels!

**Step 6:** **Wrapping Up **

🤔 Think about the activity and ask yourself the following questions:

- Did you find it hard to keep track of the numbers of each move you had to do?
- Was it easier that you were using variables to keep track of your energy?

* *📍 *Learning moment: Complicated things like apps and games use a lot of code, which end up needing a lot of variables.*

- If you only had to do the same number of moves and the same amount of rest each round, do you think you would need variables? Why or why not?
- As the activity went on and you got more tired, was it more difficult to keep track of the numbers? Do you think computers get tired like people do?