Teaching sequencing

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. :slight_smile:

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.