To teach sequencing, I would probably have my students complete the move it, move it lesson. I think by creating a map for the students to move there peers through to a different goal, and around different objects encourages them to think through the steps that are needed in order to get to the goal and then step by step draft out their instructions in small groups and then have them take turns coming up to the grid and guiding a peer through the grid. This allows them to sequence the steps in which their peer will take in order to achieve the goal. Asking follow up questions about why they chose the instructions they wrote. While I am not a teacher, I do work with 1st and 2nd grade students and teach social skill lessons as a counselor. I could see my idea working well with the classes I work with.
I really like the idea of incorporating the “leading the blind” into this type of lesson. I also appreciate that you help your students differentiate right and left by using an object to hold onto while they are blindfolded. I think this helps students really think about sequencing and developing ways to problem solve.
I’ve used this method in elementary physical education when teaching dance.
I let students know that sequencing is a series of steps; like walking-one foot after the other. Add a little flare from time to time and mix things up, but the process repeats itself over and over.
In dance, students perform a cluster of steps - step by step, one after other. When the cluster is complete, the process repeats over and over. Kids love to move and when they feel comfortable moving to the beat with confidence, they add their own flare. This confidence transfers into their ability to code using computer language
I remember a former teacher of mine doing the PB & J sandwich activity and it has stuck with me! I’ve done it with 3rd graders and they were really into it. I now teach 6th grade and I would still use it. It’s relatable and relevant and sends a clear message of sequencing and giving specific directions, or creating an algorithm. I would begin with the sandwich demonstration and then jump into the introduction from the My Robot Friends unplugged lesson, where we discuss the idea that robots can only do exactly what they are told.
For those who aren’t familiar with the PB & J Demo, you collect materials to make a sandwich: bread, butter knife, peanut butter, jelly, all in the packaging and lay them out in front of you. Ask for student volunteers to give you step-by-step instructions on making the sandwich. A student might say, “first, put peanut butter on the bread.” In that case I would pick up the jar of peanut butter and set it on top of the loaf of bread. The kids have a good chuckle and then use it as a teaching moment! Point out that you weren’t told to open the bread, take out a slice, open the peanut butter, pick up the knife, etc… Continue until eventually a sandwich is made, with plenty of funny mistakes to debug along the way. Kids love it!
Hi there, I am a 3rd grade teacher in Mountlake Terrace and have had a blast teaching core computer concept of sequencing so far.
I find that student buy in is much more prominent when they are creating something personalized, fun and meaningful.
For my intro lesson, I had the students do an accessible “unplugged” lesson in which they created their initials using an encoded program on graph paper. I had students then turn in all their coded sequences, anonymously switch with a partner, and then create the initials of a “mystery buddy”, that they then could discover after successfully following the instructions. In this way, there is a personalized element, it is building coding confidence as it is on a familiar accessible medium, and it is fun to turn it into a sort of a mystery game!
In my class, I know students are much more willing and eager to jump into activities that feel more like a game than work.
I teach first graders and will likely use a cooking analogy where certain steps must be completed in sequence to get the expected results.
I would like to use unplugged lessons in order to teach the core computer concept of sequencing. Having students write out the steps to a sequence they use in their home life will give them background knowledge of this important concept. Once they have completed and shared their ideas, I will turn paired partners loose on the online lesson.
As a 5th grade teacher, students have heard the word sequence before. They have heard it and used it in their reading lessons. My classroom is made up of about 80% language learners so it’s important that they first uderstand what the word sequence means. I refer back to a short text that has sequencing and have the students discuss what happens in the text to fully understand that the word sequence means “one after the other.” They do an exercise where they explain to each other a sequence they did that morning. Once they understand the concept, I relate it to computers that sequence and algorithms are instructions you tell the computer to do one after the other to reach a goal. I would have them pair up and create a set of instructions that they want their partner to do. Having them physically manifest what the computer is doing, helps them to understand the concept better.
I am a K-6 substitute teacher currently. My past experience was with 1-3 grades, so using that age level as a basis, I think teaching the core concept would be really pretty easy. Algorithms are the list of instructions for how to do something. I could teach that in many ways: having kids buddy up and guide one another through an obstacle course of sorts, doing the “how to” speeches/presentations (yes, the old PB&J demonstration is an oldie, but a goodie), even directing one another through a Battleship game board would be a fun way to teach these skills!
The basic algorithms I feel pretty confident on. I feel like my struggle is going to be more with when the instructions get a little more complicated, like introducing loops. I haven’t taught technology for many years, and computer science has changed so much since then, so I’m a little apprehensive, but excited, too, to expand my learning!
Hi guys! I am a third grade teacher in Edmonds, Washington and love teaching sequencing and writing algorithms to my students.
I taught sequencing and algorithms to my students by creating an unplugged lesson. In this unplugged lesson, one student was the “programmer” while the other was the “robot”. The programmer would get busy writing an algorithm (using symbols that were on the board), while the robot would wait patiently waiting for his algorithm so he could perform the given task. The robot had a blank worksheet that had a grid on it, and the programmer had to write an algorithm that required the robot to shade in certain parts of the grid. These two had to work well together, and the robot was not allowed to ask any questions- similar to Amazon Alexa, she can’t ask you questions about what you are asking her!
I noticed that my students LOVED doing this, and they loved being the robot, which required following the direct instructions. The students also enjoyed being the programmer, which allowed them to feel a sense of control. My students are so much more likely to be engaged with a lesson when they get a chance to take on multiple roles- such as the robot and the programmer! Having the students switch a couple times after completing each round allowed them to do both.
How is sequencing (including programming and algorithms) introduced in the CS Fundamentals curriculum?
Sequencing, along with programming and algorithms is first introduced in the CS Fundamentals curriculum as an unplugged lesson. The reasoning behind this is to get students familiar first with the concepts and get a basic understanding of how they work without worrying about the actual words and meaning. They learn about algorithms as a set of instructions, sequencing, the order in which instruction is given, and programming, the combination of the two, which is foundational to computer science. From this they can transition to online practice solving puzzles.
How you might implement the suggested activities in your classroom?
One of the first unplugged lessons suggested is “Happy Maps.” In Happy Maps, the “Flurb” is trying to get to his fruit. The students have to think about how they will accomplish that and use arrows to direct the Flurb. They are successful when they get the Flurb to the fruit. This activity is geared towards students in the beginning grades. Because my classroom has a high percentage of EL learners, this is a great activity to start them off with to learn the foundational concepts of computer science. I can use the different activities listed for each grade level to differentiate the learning for my students. They can then transition to online puzzles for more practice
How would you explain the concept of programming (including sequencing and algorithms) to your students? It’s a list of instructions to be followed in order to complete.
Teaching Sequencing to third graders: I have had students get in small groups and brainstorm the steps in making a particular snack they can all agree on. After each group brainstorms they must present the steps to the class.
We then discuss could anyone make that snack if they followed those directions?
Groups may leave out steps such as: take the open the peanut butter jar, get a plate out, or eat the snack. We discuss how many steps are involved in everyday tasks such as enjoying a snack if you wanted to write down every step for someone who has never made it before. Having the students choose their own snack and doing it in small groups to present seems to give choice and motivation to the students.
I would explain to my students that sequencing is when something occurs step by step. We would discuss things that are completed step by step such as making a sandwich, tying your shoe, making your bed, etc. Then, I would give everyone a piece of gum and have the students write down the steps they take to blow a bubble.
I would explain that these steps make up the algorithm make up the steps to blowing a bubble.
I would relate sequencing in computer science to writing. In Kindergarten, we write How-To" books where students give step-by-step instructions. I would explain just like our books that computer science steps have to be in order and specific so that the reader/computer can understand and complete the task you want it to do. If our steps don’t make sense the reader/computer cannot follow them.
In my First grade classroom I use “Getting Ready for School” as an activity to teach sequence. We make an anchor chart together listing step by step directions. All students can participate in this activity by using their own experiences!
Last year was my first year teaching 6th grade. To teach sequencing, I had student tell me exactly what to do as if I were the robot and they were programmers. I set my coffee down on my desk and told my students I needed some caffeine. I followed their directions very literally (for example, they told me go forward and I walked into a desk, they told me to turn and I just kept turning around until they told me to stop and specified their directions). It was very entertaining for the students and they enjoyed bossing me around but they quickly learned they needed to be very specific in their directions to get me to my coffee.
Similar to the Flurb map, I would have students create instructions for each other for walking around desks or tables in the classroom. The could use poly dots to indicate how far each move should be. They would have a list of commands written on the whiteboard, distributed on paper, and/or projected on a screen (e.g. move forward one dot, turn right, turn left). The students would right their ‘code’ and then pair up with someone who would follow the ‘code’ to test it out. There would be a few different desk/table configurations to provide increasing levels of challenge.
I would provide my own example of ‘code’ for moving around the classroom that had an error in the sequence that resulted in facing a wall and receiving a command to move forward. The students could read the commands aloud and l could be the Flurb navigating the classroom based on the code. This would only be a short modeling of the activity as the kids will want to do most of the discovery on their own.
I am a Special Education teacher for K-8 students in gen ed classrooms. Coding is a part of our Middle School math curriculum and I would like to support in in my Learning Support Math classes. Also, coding is an area where some students demonstrate engagement and success unlike any other subject. I’d love to be able to support coding across all of my grade levels.
For my 4th-7th grade students with special needs, I teach sequencing using picture charts for common activities such as washing your hands, or unpacking in the morning. You can’t scrub until you have soap on your hands. You can’t hang up your coat if your backpack is still on your back. An algorithm is just an ordered list to do in order to complete a task.
I am a 3rd grade teacher. I’ve actually attempted to teach the Graph Paper Programming unplugged lesson twice. I think it’s a fantastic way to teach sequence, algorithm, and program to students because they are pretending to be robots that need a program to successfully complete a graph paper problem. The first time, I didn’t spend enough time practicing together, so I ended up making up for it when I walked around, clarifying instructions to partnerships and table groups. The second time was better, but I think there will also be a few that need some clarification. The most important step in my opinion was having them go through and test their “program” before trading with a partner so that they make sure to catch their mistakes and any misconceptions they may have had. Overall, it’s a fantastic lesson. My classes had fun with it once they caught on.
I didn’t have them reflect in a journal either time, I would like to add that in the future. I think that would really help them to sit down on their own and reflect on the experience.