U1 Day 15-16: PD Discussion Topic

How might you customize this lesson for your local context? For example, if you’re worried about peanut butter allergies, what could you use instead? What additional ideas do you have for this lesson?

If you have any other thoughts or questions about this lesson, feel free to post those in the forum as well!

I’m going to bring in items for sushi handrolls for this activity! I did it for a homeroom activity last year (just without fish) and students loved getting to know what food I grew up eating and learning how to roll them and eat them. It was also intuitive to students, but required many steps. We could also do the same with tacos or pupusas instead of PB&J! I think it will make the idea of following directions even more memorable and give the class a chance to build some community too.


When my group taught this during PD, we used paper airplanes, and I really liked this idea. We had the participants write their instructions to make a paper airplane without making it first. They then had to give their instructions to their neighbor to see if they can build a plane from the directions. What we discovered is that the participants wrote instructions for themselves, as they had a clear picture of what they wanted to do but didn’t make their directions clear for someone else to replicate it. After this attempt, they made revisions to see if this made a difference, and it did. The second set of instructions were clearer, and almost every participant included diagrams.

Our two prompts focused on how they viewed technical writing for a potential audience of millions of consumers.


I would start out simple, make a paper airplane and write down the steps. I would then extend it to something more elaborate such as the making sandwich

In an attempt to stay with the original idea, PB can be exempted when needed, and the lesson will proceed with the making of a ‘jelly sandwich’.

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I actually did an activity along these lines earlier this year. I had students create a lego structure and write out the directions another group would need to duplicate their structure. Groups then swapped directions and attempted to replicate their peers’ structures. After all groups built their structures, we compared the originals and the “recreations.” The results were pretty funny actually, because the students were pretty far off. But that ended up being good because it opened up a discussion about what makes a “good” set of instructions. I’d definitely do something like that again next year.


I think that you have to start small and have student write out the step by step for something.

True to each and every student is the music that they listen to on their smart phones, mp3 players, Ipods, computers,etc is in the fact that most music that we listen to today is being transmitted through data streaming. Beats Music, Pandora, Spotify as a matter of selecting music from their vast library of musicians, music styles, genres, etc.

Algorithms are used by each of these companies to present their product to the “End User” The Listener.

I would have my students view from an arrangement of videos examples of how music is being produced electronically through the use of Algorithims, as well as having my students view the relationship between music streaming and the use of algorithms.

I would branch out at this point by using manipulatives to create music , such as filing glasses with water at different levels so that as each glass in “clinked” a different sound will be demonstrated, and/or how by gently touching the glass a sound will occur; thus the sounds of a song.

, The end goal is to have students in their Collaborative Group create a song using the glasses, Students will use the Algorithm of sequence as to how they were able to produce their music


We did this lesson in our training class and it was a great visual and fun lesson. I think my students will respond to it very well. I’m not worried about allergies as I plan on doing the demonstration. I think the video and discussion about algorithms will be an eye opener. (At least I hope it will)

I agree with sticking with the PB and J. Making Cereal would be fun.

I’ve done an activity before that students create a “drawing” in Microsoft Word (using the AutoShape tools) or in Paint. They have to create detailed instructions for another person to recreate their drawing (without seeing the finished product). Students always have a fun time comparing pictures.

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For this lesson I plan to use the paper airplane example and also extend it to giving directions to places within our school to see if the students end up where the writer intended.

I think my students will enjoy this lesson as we start the discussion but then might become frustrated as we continue to delve into the tediousness of writing algorithims

I think I will just omit the use of peanut butter and only use jelly. I also want to try a partner activity where students write instruction for each other to complete simple task in the classroom, such as picking up a piece of paper. It will be up to the students who are executing these these instructions (the robots) to find flaws in those instructions or a need for more specificity.

I would tie this into math by having students write an algorithm for solving an equation or doing a geometric construction. One issue that would come up is how we’ll need to use a limited vocabulary with very specific definitions.

I will confirm that no student has a nut allergy if they do I will substitute the PBJ for a regular sandwich. I will also have students write directions for getting to their next class or getting home.

I gave my students the choice of writing the directions for making a PB&J, paper airplane, tying their shoes, and or an idea they ran by me. The most meaningful part of these activities comes with the ah ha moment of sharing and realizing the flaws in their logic. They truly begin to understand computers just follow directions they don’t think.

I plan to use the paper airplane exercise we did in our pd. it was very effective in showing the need for specific instruction.

If such a situation arose that I had a student with peanut allergies, I would give them the option of the steps involved in creating a paper airplane or something else of there choice that would work for the activity. The primary goal would be for them to see the importance of being very specific with how they write their instructions. This is such a fun way to illustrate the concept of how computers follow a specific set of instructions.

A modification that I would make is to provide students with manipulatives half way through the process of creating a PB&J sandwich algorithm. Instead of just thinking the instructions through in their heads or walking through their instructions with hand movements, I think it would be valuable for students to test out their instructions on the actual, if not closely-related setup.

I also believe it would be valuable for students to consider and modify their instructions for different starting conditions such as a knife replaced by a spoon or a jar of jelly replaced by a squeezable tube of jelly.