Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

NOTE TO EDUCATORS: The movie featured in this lesson plan contains a brief discussion of the impact of anti-LGBTQ+ persecution in 1950s England, and a reference to suicide.

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Alan Turing, and supports the standard that scientists and computer scientists are resilient in their endeavors and their work requires curiosity, ingenuity, and creativity. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Partner students and ask the following questions. Have them discuss their answers with each other:

  • How do people solve difficult problems?  
  • Why might it be important for scientists and computer scientists to be creative and imaginative?

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description below the Movie player.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Theories,” “Careers,” “Plus/Minus,” or “Etc.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY
Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Make a mini documentary aboutAlan Turing’s experience decoding Enigma, including the role creativity and imagination played in his work
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying key character traits that Alan Turing possessed and how they helped him achieve his goals
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast announcing Alan Turing’s machine cracking the Enigma code.

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about Alan Turing. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • What are some of Alan Turing’s characteristics that played a role in his success as a computer scientist?
  • In what ways was Alan Turing ahead of his time?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Alan Turing Challenge

Step 5:  EXTEND LEARNING

Decode an encrypted message or play Time Zone X to learn more about Alan Turing and how his work as a computer scientist.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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