Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Computational Thinking, and supports the standard of identifying patterns in large data sets and using mathematical concepts to support explanations and arguments. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Display an image of a puzzle that can be solved with an algorithm, like these:

 

 

 

 

 


Ask students: 

  • What’s the first thing you do when solving a puzzle? 
  • How can you describe the steps to solving the puzzle?  

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: “The Modern World” or “Language”. 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: Create a tutorial explaining how to use computational thinking to decrease the time it takes you to run a mile. 
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying and defining the steps of computational thinking.
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast about how computational thinking solved a problem. 

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

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

  • What are the components of computational thinking and why is each important? What would happen if you missed a part?
  • Why is iteration an important step in computational thinking?
  • How are iterations related to writing an algorithm?

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Computational Thinking Quiz

Step 5: Extend Learning

Play a learning game to apply knowledge of computational thinking and algorithms:

  • Blockly: Maze: Build a simple computer application by programming “tag” blocks to reach your target.
  • Code Combat: Ogre Encounter: Fight ogres and gather gems as you code your way through the Kithgard Dungeon!

Continue to build understanding around engineering and technology with BrainPOP’s Computer Science topics, games, and teacher resources.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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