Teaching Resource

Following on from session 4, we were asked to create our own linked plugged and unplugged activities that can be related to real life experiences.

Here is my lesson idea.

Title: Matching Orders

Subject :Programming Languages

Key Stage 1 and 2- *can be adapted*

Resources:

  • Picture cards
  • Mini whiteboards and pens
  • Access to computers and language programming software such as Scratch

Overview:

Computers are usually programmed using a “language,” which is a limited vocabulary of instructions that can be obeyed. Computers operate by following a list of instructions, called a program that has been written to carry out a particular task. Programs are written in languages that have been specially designed, with a limited set of instructions, to tell computers what to do (csunplugged, 2002). This activity gives children some experience with this aspect of programming.

Introduction

To begin, as a class we will discuss the importance of instructions i.e. “What are they for”? and “What do they helps us to do”? Next, we will go on to discuss what would happen if instructions are not worded properly. For example if the teacher points to a closed window and says  “open!” would this be enough information for a pupil to follow?

Activity 1-Unplugged

Using a willing pupil from the class, the teacher gives this child an simple image. This pupil is asked not to allow the other members of the class to see the image that they are holding. The teacher then asks the rest of the class face away from this pupil. For the first attempt, the teacher allows the child holding the image to describe the picture to the rest of the class to reproduce. The pupils are also allowed to clarify the instructions. Using whiteboards and pens the rest of the class see how quickly and accurately they can reproduce the described image.

Repeat the exercise again however, this time the children are not allowed to ask questions with the only communication being in the form of instruction.

Applied Skills:

  •  Giving and following instructions
  • Team work
  • speaking and listening skills
  • Imagination
  • problem solving

Activity 2-plugged

Once the first activity is completed the pupils are then asked to create, using scratch,  a real world application. One example could be to use road safety as a theme. Pupils can, in small groups of two’s or three’s, write a sequence of instructions that involves navigating a car and a pedestrian away from one another. The main aim would be for the pupils to get the car to stop once the pedestrian starts walking across the crossing.

Skills:

  • Testing and Debugging
  • Problem Solving
  • Collaboration
  • Building on computational concepts such as loops, parallelism, events and sequencing
  • Building on computational practices of being iterative and incremental

Curriculum links:

  • English
  • Math
  • Art
  • Science

Take it further:

  • Pupils could perhaps add more sprites
  • Change the colour of the car
  • Edit the costume of the boy

Key questions pupils need to consider:

Why did that happen?

Why didn’t that work?

What would happen if I change this or added that?

How can I make this better?

 

 

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