Protocol writing (Mostly Unit 1)



In Unit 1 there are several opportunities for students to write protocols of their processes that they created while using the Internet Simulator to send binary msgs (1.3), Shapes (1.6), formatted txt (1.7) and then in the Internet section Battleship (1.9) asks them to write a protocol as well. For two years in a row now I have failed at linking these units together to scaffold students so that when they get to Battleship, they can do this sort of writing well.

Ironically, the one place where students do this really well is the legos assignment (3.1)!

Has anyone had any success with this very specific sort of writing. It feels like it is a really good opportunity to prep students for the AP test.

Signed, baffled.


Hey Baffled,

I also struggle getting students to write better protocols - I have too many students to go around giving individual feedback as we go through these activities, so instead I try to highlight exemplars and use those on bellworks for the next day or on homework assignments outside of class. For example, here’s an assignment I give after they’ve done the Sending Numbers / Shapes lesson: . The first 4 are protocols that my students came up with and written in their words; the last 2 are ones I made up to challenge students.

I try to do this for each of the lessons - notice a few exemplars and take pictures or transcribe them, then use them on assignments the next day to point out what the writing does well, especially if the student includes examples to help explain their protocol. I think discussing exemplary protocols helps focus students on the structure that a good protocol has while also exposing them to multiple ways to solve the same problem, which is a standard somewhere in the Algorithm Big Idea.

Hope that helps,


VERY helpful. Thank you.


Thank you for those protocol examples. Can you update protocol examples from other Unit 1 and Unit 2 lessons?