Computing session 4 – Computing in KS1

The BBC’s director general, Tony Hall, has announced plans to “bring coding into every home, business and school in the UK”.


I have attached a copy of the New Computing National Curriculum for you.

Within the new curriculum there computational concepts, practices and perspectives. Many of these may be confusing and/or unfamiliar to many of you (including myself before researching about them). Below are three simple charts that put computational language into English.

Concept Description
Sequence A series of steps for a task
Loop Repetition of the same sequence
Parallelism Making things happen at the same time
Events One thing causing another to happen
Conditions Making decision based upon conditions
Operators Support for mathematical and logical expressions
Data Storing, retrieving, and updating values
Practice Description
Being iterative and incremental Developing a small bit, testing it out, and developing it some more
Testing and Debugging Making sure that things work – finding and fixing mistakes
Reusing and Remixing Making something by building on what others (or you) have done
Abstracting and Modularizing Building something large by putting together collections of smaller parts

Within the abstracting and modularizing section, I though that this could make way for a whole class project. Where each children (or in partners) creates a small part of something (a game for example – where each child can program an individual sprite in Scratch), which can then all come together to create the final working game. Of course this would need a great deal of organisation at the start, along with explanations/discussions on how the game is going to work, so that when it all comes together, it fits well and works.

Perspective Description
Expressing “I can create…..”Realising that computation is a medium of creation
Connecting “I can do different things when I have access to others”Recognising the power of creating with and for others
Questioning “I can use computation to ask questions to make sense of computational things in the world”Feeling empowered to ask questions about the world

Further details on the above can be found in the following document: CurriculumGuide_v20110923

Plan for unplugged activity

  • A course will be set out in the hall consisting of obstacles that the children will need to climb over and duck under.
  • The children will have to construct instructions for their partner to go round the course when blindfolded.
  • In one session key terminology will be focused on: forward, turn, bend, sit, swivel ect. The children will write instructions (link to literacy) for their partner.
  • Next session will consist of one child being blind folded and the other to instruct them, then swap roles.
  • The idea of the instructions is the basics of programming; this will then progress to Bee Bots (plugged) and then Sat Nav activity (real life).


Plugged activity

This activity follows on from the unplugged activity where children produce instructions away from the computer.

Using the Bee Bot robot allows children to program a robot to move around a pre-made course or a course that the children have made themselves.

The activity can link into English, as the children could write a set of instructions for the Bee Bot using time connectives. It also links nicely into Maths, as the children are using directions. The use of left, right, forward and backwards can be an introduction into north, south, east and west.


Real World Situation –

Sat Nav – this gives you the ‘code for your journey’ with miles/kilometres and the direction you are going in.

Children’s activity – warm up – to programme into the SatNav some listed places (or home – depends on policies)

Activity – writing a programme of directions to get to a certain place from a set point. If it is a long distance, try and draw it on a map, then check it against a SatNav.

Plenary – either practise short journeys if within classroom or school, or give a child a set of directins for a short journey. Someone acts as the SatNav’s voice.

For further ideas on ICT and computing planning, please go to the following website – PLANNING
The site consists of support in digital literacy, digital society, creating multimedia and instructions and game design. Each of them is further broken down to deliver additional support. A range of websites, apps and programs are suggested (which I think is always helpful, as half the battle is knowing what to use) plus a break down on ability to help in your differentiation. The website uses bronze, silver and gold, but that can easily be adapted to whatever strategies you use at your school.


Hopscotch is a VERY simple Ipad app which introduces children to programming characters to move about the page and draw pictures etc. The characters that the children can choose from at the beginning are very appropriate for key stage 1 – or, the children can upload their own character.
It is similar to Scratch in that it has all the programming commands (movement, drawing, control flow, appearance, values and calculator) but it is done on a much more simple level. I would definitely suggest getting the children to use Hopscotch before using Scratch personally.
Here is a short film clip of one I made myself. It took me roughly ten minutes to create, because I had to  get used to the program first before fully understanding how to program my gorilla.

There is also a lovely maths link which I am a big fan of. In order to get the shape to link up at the end, the children have to set the angle and the number of repeat to match up. For example, I set mine to repeat 12 times at an angle of 30 degrees, knowing that 12×30=360 degrees. It’s only a simple link, but I really like it and I do think that the children will want their shape to be complete, as I did when I was creating mine.

Benefits and Constraints of Using ICT



Access to remote learning resources

Student Privacy

Helps prepare individuals for the workplace

Preparation Time

Greater efficiency throughout the school.

New Administrative Responsibilities

Communication channels are increased through email, discussion groups and safe chat rooms

Plagiarism – children could copy word for word something off the internet, but understand none of it.

Regular use of ICT across different curriculum subjects can have a beneficial motivational influence on students’ learning.

ICT and computing equipment is expensive

Fine-tune fine-motor skills

Not enough hands-on time

Teach cause and effect

Not enough people time

Setting more stimulating and student-centred

Too much sedentary time

For further benefits and constraints of using ICT and computing, visit the following website: ICT advantages and Disadvantages

A couple of additional documents of support can be found below:
Computing in the national curriculum – a guide for primary teachers

Year 3 sample lesson plan


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