Teaching conditionals

Mi piacerebbe spiegare il concetto di condizionale attraverso la musica, dato che sono un insegnante di questa materia alle medie. Divido la classe in due squadre (Rosso :red_circle: e Blu :large_blue_circle:), e registro una serie di sequenze musicali (almeno 10, ognuna di 5/6 secondi circa) di vari strumenti musicali, di cui alcuni di pianoforte :musical_keyboard: . Se la sequenza è :musical_keyboard: la squadra :red_circle: guadagnerà un punto, se invece sarà :violin:, oppure :trumpet:, oppure :saxophone:, ecc guadagnarà un punto la squadra :large_blue_circle: . Se la sequenza sarà :musical_keyboard: la squadrà :red_circle: guadagnerà un punto, ma se sarà un altro strumento, guadagnerà il punto la squadra :large_blue_circle: a meno che insieme all’altro strumento ci sia il pianoforte. Ad esempio :musical_keyboard: = 1 punto :red_circle:, se :trumpet: = 1 punto :large_blue_circle: ma se :musical_keyboard: e :saxophone: = 1 punto :red_circle:

I love all these great comments and ideas!

My two cents: I think it’s important to point out the difference between conversational language and computer jargon. In conversation, we would say “If it’s raining outside, I’ll wear a jacket; otherwise I’ll just wear my shirt.” Using computer jargon, we would say “If rain, jacket; else, shirt.” Writing those two sentences on the white board, one above the other, will demonstrate it visually for learners. I really believe that highlighting the fact that we use common words in different ways in computer science will help a learner’s brain make the language shift that needs to happen to really get this stuff.

In teaching adults to code, for example, I’ve found that many of them get stuck on the language itself. Imagine in 1980, if I told someone to: “Click your mouse on the window.” They would have looked at me like I was a crazy person: “Say what? You mean, like, take a little gray mouse and tap him against the glass?” Our brains need to make the language shift, so we can incorporate new definitions of old words (e.g., server, program, function, etc.).

So that’s one thing I focus on, especially in the beginning. And it’s always fun :smile:


I would equate it to the decisions that a student makes going to class. If the bell rings, then…If you get to your classroom door, then…We could go on and on with these!

I start out my school year, like most teachers, with the basic rules of the class. We then take the positives and turn them into “If This, Then That” statements. Conditionals are the same. If they follow the rule, good things will happen!

I think that with the younger students (grade 1 and 2) i I am going to teach conditionals using a game like Simon Says before we go into the cards. We good use coloured block rather than cards as well.

Conditionals can be tough for elementary students (and teachers!); so I like what I am reading here about others saying the same thing. Last year I spent the whole 40 minutes class period with the unplugged lesson. I created a presentation here (see animations in PRESENT mode) We never seem to have enough time to get thorough that last slide 7, but as you can see from slide 6 I was trying to give them the thought process of any IF/ELSE. This notation was for me too as I am learning all of this with them! This year I would like to spend more time on unplugged lessons using conditionals to embed it a but more into their learning before heading back into the puzzles.

I will teach my students about concept of conditionals with yours example with cards. It is very good idea.

Using the cards to start would be perfect. Also, my students are big a on Minecraft Pe. I think it would be cool to create our own if statements and try to apply them while playing the game. For example, if someone uses wood to build something everyone else has to…

Abstractions of conditional coding constructs are all around us. I’d cite some examples first, then ask students to reflect and come up with some of their own.

I would use the analogy of rules and conditions. "If this happens then these are the consequences.

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I think when i get to it - I’ll teach this as similar to cause-effect . I like some of the posted ideas to go make to games and have the kids think about all the conditional they use already, then think about how you’d write them.

Middle School

I have found that extra practice is warranted with conditionals. We watch the Brainpop movie, Computer Programming (it’s a free movie). This movie covers conditional statements in an engaging manner. First I ask the students to listen for the vocabulary that I want them to understand: algorithm, loops and conditional statements. Next, we pair/share our understanding and confirm this with the whole group. Then we use the Tynker: Lost in Space game to practice the concept. After this, the students are able to progress through Conditional stages in Code.org easily.

Most of my 3rd graders are just getting to this. I think I will start with a discussion about clothing - If it is raining, I will wear a raincoat. If the sun is shining, I will not wear a coat. If it is snowing, I will wear a winter coat. If they all seem to get it, I will have them carry on with the course. If not, I will introduce the card game. (If then pun intended :wink:

To explain the concept of conditionals to my student I would ask them to think about what happens in their home life. Do you parents ever give you choices of what to eat for dinner? What about places to go for a family outing? Do you have chores at home? If so, what are the rewards of completing the choir and non reward consequences of not completing them? In programming conditionals statements follow the same logic. If you have a choice then you can eat this or go here, else you eat this or go elsewhere. If you complete your chore then you get a reward, else you get a non reward consequence. I would show them a flow chart which show the different paths according to their choice or actions.

I would teach conditionals by having the kids come up with their own conditionals. “If it’s sunny outside, we can go outside for PE.” and then apply them to their code.

I had trouble with one of the stages of this one - stae 4. The rest was pretty easy, but this one I just couldn’t do it. I then went to the solution, which still didn’t work, so I think there is a glitch somewhere (time to debug guys?) I will let the kids set their own conditionals.
My example will be, if you finish your maths in class, you get to go out for recess, or else, you have to finish your maths at recess time.

I would have to explore other ways of teaching conditionals to my Kindergarten students. If anyone has tried this I would love to hear how it went - good or bad.

Hi conditional concept reminds me of a flow chart. Taking account of previous posts I will try a variety of different activities to show this concept.

I asked my students to play a simple card game after presenting the rules to them using if, elif, and else. The students were responsible for “translating” the rules into English. After we proved ourselves able to play the game, I added some nested conditionals to the rules, and we went through the process again.

After that, they were given the chance to invent their own card games. They first wrote the directions in English and then rewrote them in pseudocode using if, elif, and else. Bonus points for nesting conditionals.

They had lots of fun with it.

If coure is in italian I’ll learn better!