Lesson 11: The Big Event

After teaching my first grade students this lesson in Course B (simplified version), I decided NOT to teach this to my second grade students, because the information didn’t translate well for my first grade students. They still struggled initially to understand how events worked. So, I instead modified the Conditionals with Cards lesson from Course D. I wanted to share the lesson that I used with my class in case anyone was interested in trying it this way. I would love feedback on ways to improve this lesson if anyone has ideas!

Students worked with partners and were given a blank 7x10 block grid in a plastic sleeve, dry erase marker, and eraser and were told to create boundaries on the grid in order to create their very own board game. They were also given a paper in a plastic sleeve with pictures of 3 defined event blocks: “When a diamond card is picked,” “When a heart card is picked,” and “When a Joker card is picked.” Under each of those Event blocks was an empty Move block. The team had to decide what board game move would occur for each of those defined events (move forward a specific number, move forward the number on the card, move backward a specific number, move backward the number on the card, move to a specially marked location on the board, return to the start, win the game, etc). If students chose to use the “number on the card,” then they did have to define how much a Jack, Queen, King and Ace were worth before starting the game. We also discussed how something extreme should happen with the Joker event, since there are only 2 joker cards in the deck. I have an entire class set of Lego mini figures that we used as our game pieces, and the students worked through their deck of playing cards to play the game. (Thank you Code.org for sending a class set of playing cards after I attended a training!!)

Of course, we completed the game as a class before releasing them to do it on their own. When working as a class, the first time we pulled a Club or Spade, the students had a conversation about what exactly should happen and why. We determined that nothing would happen, which was essentially losing a turn, but we clarified that we lost the turn because there was no definition for the event that just took place. The students did a fantastic job creating quality game boards and deciding how to complete the coding “rules” for their game. Playing the game was great, because each time a card was picked, they were forced to look back at the code, discover if the event was defined, and follow what was written down. Some students finished their game quickly and re-built their board. Others chose to change their events to “black card” and “red card,” or “odds,” and “evens.” Changing up the game provided another great opportunity to read the written code. When they moved in to the next programming level (12), they were VERY successful with understanding the purpose and concept of the Event blocks. They have begged to continue playing more Events with Cards Board Game!


This sounds like a really great modification of the lesson, and has a really clean connection to the way in which students will work with events online. Thanks for sharing!