Algorithm example - write out steps in outline format (pseudocode) to go from the couch to the kitchen, get some water and come back again.
I would try to get my students to compile a list of steps needed to complete an everyday function such as making a sandwich or getting ready for school in the morning. I would use the whiteboard and get a student to compile a list in front of the class and since each student does things a little differently, I would ask multiple students to do the task and see if they will get the same result at the end.
I have taught this concept most completely by allowing students some time working in code.org sequencing lessons for a bit, then stopping to discuss the problems that are arising. I find that doing this when they are about half way through the first maze in course 1 before they get to the debugging stage, helps the students understand the debugging stage better.
There is also a wonderful Brainpop movie on Computer Programming that is free currently and helps explain a poorly written set of directions.
Last year was our first year to implement the Hour of Code into our school. As a bit of a lead up to this, for the junior classes, we took the concept of happy maps - to move the flurb to the flowers, but also got the students to move around the library - we have a patterned tiled carpet, with a few spotches of red/green squares, so the students were ‘programmed’ to move around the tiled carpet until they got to the red, or green squares. It was a really good practical lesson in sequencing, and using algorithms to get us where we needed to go. Lots of fun and laughter too.
I’ve used the Code.org cup activity to teach coding before and found it successful. Kids who you would suspect, really get to shine. I think I’d also try having kids write algorithms for regular activities in the classroom…like a user manual for a new student.
To introduce the importance and use of sequencing and algorithms, I usually use either “how to make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich” or the steps involved in washing your hair! It becomes a great room of laughter as the students individually call out their instructions to another student that has to follow/mimic the exact directions…but it helps to stress the importance of sequencing, and drives the concept across to the students. We have also used writing the directions to get home from school (without a map), then with a partner, using Google Maps from the school to follow the specific steps to see if we get there. My older students (8th graders) enjoy this and can really give each other a hard time when they can’t figure the directions to get to their own home!
I have limited time and space with students, so I stood in the middle of the room and asked for instructions to draw a smiley face on the board. The whole class participated and it was evident very quickly that their instructions had to be specific. For example, students needed to tell me how many steps to the board, I needed to pick up the marker AND take the cap off before I could draw a circle. I made a point of doing the opposite of what they intended unless they gave specific instructions. I made a tiny circle for the face until they specified a size, etc.We talked about the necessity of sequencing - especially with recipes.
We talked about what an algorithm is before and after the activity. They gave examples of other algorithms (recipes, origami).
When I do this again, I’ll have a follow up activity where they each need to come up with 3 different algorithms at home to share with the class and I might find a creative way for them to remember the word algorithm.
I like teaching sequencing using the PBJ recipe. THey are to write out the instructions and actually have to follow their own instructions as another student reads it aloud to them. There are no steps to be replaced or omitted, s/he will need to complete the sandwhich as stated. Amazinginly, they always forget the utensils and how to lay the bread down or how to spread the peanut butter or jelly so it’s a hot mess prior to completing the sandwhich. They will automatically try to self correcct as they are making the PBJ, but the rules are to follow the instructions as read just like sequencing within the computer programming, thus some frustration will occur, but they have more fun at the end realizing their own mistakes.
I teach 5th & 6th grade science in a highly Asian immigrant population that is within the city of Chicago, so I also have to have a lot of my materials translated into Chinese. I do not mind doing this, but it is time consuming, does anyone know if we have this already translated for our ELL population?
I would explain to my students that the concepts of programming are as simply as the instructions a teacher gives you to complete a task. Lets say for example, your teachers says pull out a sheet of paper and write your first name followed by your last name in the upper right hand corner of your paper. Underneath that write today’s date. Finally underneath that write the name of the class you are currently in. In programming instructions are called algorithms. The order the teacher has you complete the instructions are the sequence. Sequencing is important because if you try to complete the instructions in a different order your results will not come out correct and/or you may not be able to complete a step because you lack some information provided in the previous step.
I’m planning on teaching sequencing by giving them some puzzles from the dollar tree that I have from what I taught 1 grade (I teach 3 now) and having them put them in order. Then we’ll explain how order and sequencing is important. These puzzles are things like brushing your teeth, making a sandwich etc.
When teaching programming to young students, I would use different colored blocks in a tower shape. I’d ask my students to tell me how I can make a tower just like it using only one hand. Students will quickly understand that they must start at the bottom and work their way up in proper sequence until the two towers are the same. They must say “Pick up red block and put on table. Pick up green block to put on red block. Pick up yellow block and put on the green block. Pick up the white block and put on the yellow block.” That’s it! Students can easily see when their directions go right or they get a ‘bug’. As an assignment for older students, I’d have them do a writing assignment that gives detailed directions on how to do basic things like washing their hands, brushing their teeth, and or making simple things. They need to read the directions and a partner does only what they are told. Again, they can search for ‘bugs’ and rewrite their instructions to try on someone else the next day. Teaching them to use clear and concise directions (their algorithm) in proper sequential steps leads to successful programming or getting someone to do what they wanted them to do. I can’t wait to get started!!
I think that programming could be explained as a series of steps that are executed to fulfill a certain goal. For example, each day you are programmed to do certain things and there are desired outcomes. For example, you need to create a “program” to make a delicious mug of hot chocolate. If you go through the steps in a certain order, you are on the path to success in achieving the goal.
I’ve had the class direct a student volunteer that served as our sprite from spot in the room to the door with a series of commands. I’ve also had the kids construct sequence chains outlining the procedure to make toast. I use both these activities to demonstrate sequences and algorithms.
I am just putting a program together that would be implemented this coming August. Once I gather more data I would definitely share with the forum.
I used the book ‘Hello Ruby’ by Linda Liukas
…read each Chapter and then implemented activities from the back of the book eg sequencing and algorithms by Ss creating a sequence of instructions for ‘Making the bed’, ‘Borrowing a book’…role played the instructions…lots of fun!
My pupils love so much the hour of code.
Infortunatly we have a lots of problems with the wi fi.
I can work only with 2-3 laptops or tabets.
We usually work in group.
I get them to play snakes and ladders and discuss sequence, selection, iteration in that familiar context. Ambiguity is also addressed eg. how is the games finished? is it up the sanke or down…
Well, I work with students of the first year in a scuola media in Italy (it is more or less like a 6th grade, as my students are 11 or 12 years old).
I am not a CS teacher, but as I strongly believe that learning to code is not only for programmers or computer scientists of the future, I also think that it is important that all students learn how to code.
At school we do not have many computers and I think that I could teach the core computer concept of sequencing to my students by starting from the everyday life and from the fact that there are so many activities we do simply following a list of actions we are quite unaware of. After thinking about that, I would ask y students to describe some of these activities using an algorithm or a simple sequence of actions. Then, I would ask my students to write on a piece of paper a sequence of actions to have their schoolmates do or carry on a particular activity or task and after that I would let them practice and really “play” these activities small groups: one student is the programmer and has to give the instructions, another student is the “computer” and has to exactly follow the instructions he /she is given, a third student is the observer and has to control that instructions are given and executed in the right way, and a fourth student is a sort of disturber and has to change the sequence of the instructions, to show that right sequencing is important to perform activities in the right way.
I think these unplugged activities could be useful to learn sequencing and algorithms.
The Hour of Code gives students a glimpse into the world of computer science. My students enjoyed the challenge of programming a simple task. As in engineering tasks, if you don’t succeed the first time, go back and try again until you are successful.
I teach a 4/5 class, who are very social and find it difficult to listen. A Kagan teacher at a professional learning I attended asked our group to pretend one of us was a robot and the other the controller. The controller had to give us instructions to make our way around the room without bumping into any other robot. I think my students will enjoy this and will realise they need to give clear instructions to get around the room.
Another activity I have done is to turn the class into a maze. the entire class except for one or two come inside and stand around the room. The student that had to wait outside is blindfolded and needs to be given instructions by each member of the class, one at a time, so they can move safely to the other side, which also shows the importance of one instruction at a time and sequencing.