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

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 5-12, students use BrainPOP resources (including an online game) to explore a computer programming language.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explore a basic computer programming language through an online coding game.
  2. Develop coding skills needed to develop websites, apps, and games.

Materials:

  • Computers with internet access for BrainPOP

Preparation:

This lesson plan uses a game called Code Monkey from Code Monkey Studios to teach coding in a real programming language. Using CoffeScript, a modern open source language, students will develop skills such as problem solving, planning, geometric thinking, and arithmetic, and will complete the full program with the coding skills needed to develop websites, apps, and games.

To get started with game play, read the instructions pop up. You can re-open it at any time by clicking the professor. Click the “Run!” button to execute the current code. You can edit the code to make the monkey catch the banana and click “Run!” to try it, until you succeed. When in doubt, simply click the “Run!” button to see what the code does, or the reset button to start the challenge from scratch. Keeping improving your solution until you receive the 3-star score.

On GameUp, you can play 30 levels in a linear sequence. (An additional 30 levels are available at CodeMonkey.com. Each step gets progressively harder:
  1. First Steps: 10 challenges, using basic functions and arguments
  2. Objects and Friends, 10 challenges, interacting with different objects
  3. Loop Land, 10 challenges, basic times loops
You can view all the steps and their learning objectives in this chart.

We recommend previewing the game before introducing it to students and plan for ways to adapt this lesson plan to your class' needs.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Have students take the Computer Programming Quiz to see what they already know about programming. We recommend showing the quiz as a whole class activity and discussing students' answers.
  2. Play the BrainPOP Computer Programming Movie and talk about any student misconceptions or questions.
  3. Tell students they will have the opportunity to explore a a computer programming language through an online game called Code Monkey. Allow students to explore the game in pairs for approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Have students pause their game play to discuss strategies. What tips and tricks have they discovered for coding? What improvements do they still need to figure out? Encourage students to work cooperatively to improve their code.
  5. Provide at least 20 more minutes of game play, and allow students to revisit the game either at home or in future class periods to explore advanced levels.
  6. You may want to use the Activity or the game quiz as an assessment.
Comments
  • Debra Jacoby

    I like the idea of using the Computer Programming movie to set the tone for Code Monkey. In that way the lesson reviews loops, repeats, and functions again before the students program.