Teaching Debugging in Penjee



Debugging is like tasting a dish while working on it. A chef may check the level of salt or test to see the temperature of a roast. Debugging is like this, in that it lets you inspect the program as it is running and enables you to check variables or see errors as they happen in real time.

Debugging is also one of the most foreign things for middle school students , well it’s one of the most foreign thing for any first time programmer!

Debug Mode- Penjee

By default, your  python code runs in debug mode, as shown here:

Debugging built into Penjee


We’ve also made our logger messages more user friendly than your average compiler/interpreter (granted that’s not a high bar!)

We know that each student must create a Penguin so we are able to , usually, determine if they misspelled that word.


Our lessons also purposefully include erroneous code to familiarize students with reading and interpreting the messages in the logger.




What’s next for Penjee an Debugging?

We will be introducing breakbpoints to teach true debugging. Students will be able to click on the map itself and add a breakpoint (Keeping with our mantra to keep things visual for middles school kids).  Ultimately, as we build out more curriculum, we do plan to ween kids of the purely visual and into an even more authentic way of interacting with the “penjee IDE” by using breakbpoints in the code editor itself.