Routers - Optional Extra Lesson (I loved it)



I highly recommend the extra optional lesson “How Routers Learn”. I taught it the day after Lesson 10. I liked the problem solving nature of it.

You can find it here or going to the overview of Unit 1 here and scrolling way down.

It took me a solid 30-45 minutes if not more to fully understand it and set up before class, so don’t wing it on this one! I watched the video on my own but did not show the video which made it more confusing at the beginning to students, but I thought contributed better overall to the “oh, i get it” factor.

I would highly recommend being intentional about groups. I don’t have a divisible of 8 which did have a negative impact, but I planned ahead and put a talented group of 6 together and they figured out. I also balanced out the other groups with higher and lower achieving groups mixed together. There were clear table leaders who helped others learn.

If you are giving it a shot for the first time, I’d be happy to chat or give you any of my additional thoughts.


I agree this was a very worthwhile lesson. The tips and tricks video for teachers helped. I’m also glad I noticed the pairing suggestions since it would’ve been hard to manage more than one group of eight if those suggestions weren’t available. Kids loved it.


Thanks for posting this! I also LOVE this lesson - I do it every year too. I think it connects the dots for students in a really nice way. I had 5 groups of 8 which was hard to manage, but still worthwhile.

I highly recommend showing students the video staring Brook, Sarah, and Josh. While it seems redundant, students really need to see how it works a few times before they get the rhythm of it.


Do you know if any of the optional lessons like this one for Unit 1 Lesson 11 are available in a pdf download? They are not a part of the Unit Lessons pdf.

Also, with this being the 3rd lesson of a set, and since you did not mention the first two, did you just jumped in to this 3rd lesson without the prior two? I love the idea of the optional lessons, but am just wondering how they fit in the grand scheme of the building knowledge/experience base.


I hear ya! They are a bit “hidden”. If you get to the unit over view (I get there by clicking on the big “1” on the top header of the overview)

From there, you will see the optional lessons with a yellow box around them.

I “print to PDF” when I go to my print dialogue box if you want a PDF of the optional documents.

As far as the issue of it being the 3rd lesson in a set of optional lessons… I think the other two in the algorithms detour rely a bit on themselves. But the third (how routers learn) can be done just between the other internet lessons. It refers a bit to the “shortest route lesson” but it is not necessarily needed. For the last two years I did JUST the router lesson and I didn’t have any students thrown because we didn’t do the other two lessons. To me, it flows well with what students are learning in the unit overall.

I hope your students enjoy it!


Thank you!
I found the lesson on Code Studio:

Did the 1st lesson (MST) today with my class and am looking to jump to the 3rd (Routers) next class time before continuing on with Lesson 12. May regret it later when the schedule budget nears its end.


I did MST optional lesson and then the 3rd lesson. I thought they fit well together. Enjoy!