Instead of using peanut butter, you could use nutella or just do a jelly sandwich! My group did smores with marshmallows, graham crackers and nutella. It was great! If you do not want to do food, then they can create something on the computer or getting dressed!
There are a couple of options. Instead of peanut butter, you could use Nutella. Or, you could use graham crackers and frosting. If you wanted to avoid food altogether, you could have someone get dressed according to specific directions. As a middle school teacher, I think my students would find the “getting dressed” idea hilarious.
It might be kind of fun to make smoothies or root beer floats. Something that the students could actually partake in afterwards would be more engaging.
I think it might be fun to link this to an activity I use in my science classes, so students can see some additional connections. This can obviously be linked directly to the importance of following directions or writing a SPECIFIC scientific procedure so it can be replicated by other scientists, and also to the unit in which I teach motion (the use of reference points when giving directions. I will have students pick out a “secret” object in the room. Without describing it at all, they must write down instructions for locating it. They will give these instructions to another student who will then have to follow them and guess the object. It is always fun to see if students are specific enough in their instructions (for example, did they say something like, (if facing the back of the classroom, turn left). They quickly realize the importance of using reference points or in telling someone how many degrees to turn (as mentioned in the lesson).
I like the activity we did in class because they can make directions and actually follow them literally instead of driving directions because they may not realize that the words you use in directions actually matter because words differ when interpreted by different people.
I’m going to try doing the Monster Creation activity instead of making peanut butter sandwiches - it looks like more fun and then all the kids are involved instead of just me trying out one of their instructions. The monster activity was one we found on code.org as an uplugged activity for younger kids, but I think it will still be fun for my 9th graders.
I’ve thought about having students discuss how to make a loaf of bread with the 6 basic ingredients: flour, water, sugar, salt, butter, yeast. This would take more than 1 day since we’d also take advantage of actually baking the bread in the cafeteria ovens. However, student would enjoy working with the ingredients and making logical step by step instructions on how to actually do it.
I think I’ll have the write directions on how to get to the office, how to make an ice cream sundae, or how to tie a shoe,
I teach middle school at a smaller school so kept the PB&J version since it was easy for me to determine who had peanut allergies. For the one class in which it was an issue, they created an algorithm for a jelly sandwich. The project for all groups was a huge hit. I had teams create algorithms, and separate teams implement them exactly as written. The students had terrific laughs seeing the results (e.g. “pick up plate with bread” was hilarious), while discussing “debugging” ideas and what should be done to expand and adjust each algorithm to implement correctly.
We live in a very rural community, so we could do something related to agriculture. Maybe we could create algorithms for a tractor to plow their field, or the students could think about how a pivot (for sprinkler changing) knows how fast to go and how much water to spray. Instead of PB and J we could do how to make toast or something similar.
We had monster face parts printed on overhead transparencies. Students wrote instructions for a partner to create a specific monster. They did it two different ways–first, they had to describe the face part. The second time, they were given a sheet that named each face part. At the end we discussed how much easier it was when they used more specific instructions.
I liked this activity in PD. We did it with PBJ and it worked well. I will do the same. I also like the idea of taking a recipe, driving directions, etc and really breaking it down and defining terms. Students should understand importance of technical writing.
Since most students in our district have made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in elementary or junior high for everything from following directions to learning a process to technical writing, I think I might try to use a different type of task. For example, tying a shoe, or folding a shirt, or folding a paper airplane.
Great idea on tapping in to the local community and having students write an algorithm for a tractor to plow their field, or some of the other ideas mentioned. It is also a great lead into Unit 2 and problem solving.
You can give directions for just about anything, tying your shoes, baking a cake, etc. Give the students a chance to choose among several workable options and let them go to town with it.
I ended up doing ‘how to put on a shirt’ then I followed their directions and tried to put on my husbands shirt. The kids loved it, lots of laughs!
I don’t think I would use the peanut butter and jelly for two reasons–allergies and I think it has been done a lot. I might use tying a shoe or directions to a place in the building. I like the idea of getting the students up and moving. I like the lego idea also!
I really liked this lesson and when I did it with my students, they liked it to. I took a poll before the activity to see if anyone was allergic, thankfully no one was, but if I had to I would switch the activity to making a paper airplane or making a s’more (which is what we did in PD). I did not make my students be blindfolded or anything like that, but i would consider doing that next time.
I like the paper plane idea as stated below. don’t have to worry about allergies and it still teachers the concepts.
Fits in well with the culture part of ECS!