U1 Day 15-16: PD Discussion Topic


The whole “Big brother is watching” is interesting. Who has your data? What is being done with it? I plan to have a major discussion of pros and cons. You don’t choose a newspaper to get your news, you go on line and algorithms decide what news you see.


I like the idea of doing paper airplanes. it will allow you to use smaller groups. Maybe have each group write a set of instructions, then trade with another group. then try to follow the instructions. This would also allow you to rotate the instructions around and allow groups to see what made for easier or harder instructions.


This lesson was also fantastic. The peanut butter jelly sandwich was hilarious but drove home the point of the explicit nature of algorithms and the complexity of cognition. I think a great way to do this is have students create a school map with different destinations, then hand them off to another team or group to follow the instructions and make the necessary corrections.


I like both parts of the following directions lessons and will likely use the quiz as is. I may make a slight modification to the making of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich activity by demonstrating how ambiguous instructions can be myself for the initial set of instructions and then allowing students to attempt to refine instructions and have them and their partner or small group members carry out each other’s instructions before a discussion on precision and clarity.


In our in-person PD training, we used jelly and applesauce. I’m not sure anyone would want to eat it - but it certainly solved the peanut butter problem. Paper airplanes is a nice alternative.


The algorithm for a PBJ sandwich is a great lesson to incorporate these concepts to students. If they have allergies, then try the paper airplane example. The important aspect of the lesson are to build detailed instructions that can be given to someone else so they can replicate the instruction set using logic and garner an intended result.


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?

I am personally not too concerned with peanut allergies due to the the fact that I have already pre-surveyed my students and none have reported any. YOu could do this with making a ham sandwich, brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Washing your hands would be a simple one that could be extremely funny and its sanitary!


I think the sandwich making activity would be fine without peanut butter. If I needed a substitute, I would ask the class for suggestions the day before the activity. I do like the Paper Airplane activity mentioned in one of the posts…it avoids the allergy issue.


It would be fun to have students navigate a blindfolded student through a maze.


Any sandwich combo - tell the kids to pretend marshmallow is a substitute for pb. Some kids will say they have done this in science class - and I think that’s an advantage because it will help highlight how detailed and specific directions for a computer need to be. This lesson provokes lots of really good discussion.


I would use the PBJ example that was used in the PD I attended this summer.


Not sure. The best thing would be a pork tenderloin sandwich (Indiana) but that’s too complicated. Maybe how to eat a banana? Will probably go with butter and jelly sandwiches…


Unfortunately, due to concerns over using food, I will totally avoid using food in my classroom. I do like using paper airplanes, I’ve done that before in other classes, and think it’s a great way to show how many steps there are to making different types of paper airplanes. Another thing I’ve done and may do with this lesson is to split students into groups of two and assign them to write an algorithm for how to get from my classroom to different places in the building. After completing that step, have groups swap their algorithms and see if one student in a group can successfully describe the algorithm to the other student in the group without the second student being able to read the instructions.


You can use many other types of instructions that have nothing to do with fooe, as previously mentioned. You could have students write the directions for making a paper airplane, Building a house of cards…


I love this lego idea. I will incorporate that into my lesson. Thanks


I am a true believer that the approach to say something is wrong or needs to be corrected should always start with any of the positives available. This way the corrections are made from a positive point instead of negative.


This is more engaging than the sandwich idea. A lot of the teachers in my PD didn’t get what that lesson was going for.


I will use Sunflower Seed Butter. I will do an additional activity where they must re-create a crime scene (in our crime scene lab) based on a Police Officer’s faulty notes. I have wonderful examples from the OJ Simpson trial.


How to escape the classroom in case of emergency, have them map it out algorithmically from a specific point in the classroom…


I already did something similar to this on the second day of school. I had 2 volunteers, 1 to describe/instruct how to draw an object they could hold in the hand and another student who did the drawing. We did this a number of ways: 1) they had to stand back to back and couldn’t talk or look until they thought they were done. 2) the person instructing could see what the person was drawing but they still couldn’t talk back and forth - this allowed the person describing the object to under how detailed their instructions needed to be and 3) the person instructing could see what the person was drawing AND receive questions from them if the person who was drawing needed more information to complete the task.

I will still do the PB&J but will be prepared to substitute just butter or even try to make cinnamon toast. I like the idea of the airplane too so if time allows, I will try that as well.