Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Computer Programming, and supports the standard of decomposing a problem into smaller tasks. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Prompt students to think of a time they explained how to do something to someone, such as how to play a game or sport, how to get somewhere, etc. Ask: 

  • Were your instructions clear to others? How do you know?
  • If others did not understand, how did you change your directions? 

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 three Related Reading articles. 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 you could write a computer program for  an everyday task, like brushing your teeth. Include information about your program’s variables, conditions, and outputs. 
  • Make-a-Map: Design an algorithm for tying your shoes, and have a classmate try it to test for bugs. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a game where players sort steps in an algorithm as  variables, conditions, outputs, or bugs. 

Step 4: REFLECT & ASSESS 

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

  • How is computer programming like writing a recipe? 
  • How can you check your algorithm for bugs? 

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Computer Programming Challenge

Step 5:  Extend Learning

Apply your understanding by analyzing a computer program punch card and answering questions in this Primary Source Activity

Dive more deeply into computer programming with BrainPOP’s collection of Computer Science and Coding topics, games, and teacher resources. 

Practice some computer programming skills with coding games, including Blockly: Maze and Run Marco!

 

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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