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 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 the description on the Computer Programming topic page.
  • 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.

Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 

Step 3: ENGAGE

Students express what they learned about computer programming while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs

  • 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. (Essential Literacy Skill: Integrate information presented in diverse media and formats)
  • Make-a-Map: Design an algorithm for tying your shoes, and have a classmate try it to test for bugs. (Essential Literacy Skill: Acquire and use domain-specific words and phrases)
  • Creative Coding: Code a game where players sort steps in an algorithm as  variables, conditions, outputs, or bugs. (Essential Literacy Skill: Determine central ideas and summarize key details) 
  • Primary Source Activity: Examine and analyze a computer program punch card. (Essential Literacy Skill: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media) 

Step 4: APPLY & ASSESS 

Apply: Students take the Computer Programming Challenge, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Computer Programming Quiz.

Step 5: EXTEND LEARNING

Computer Science and Coding Unit: Continue to build understanding around computer programming by exploring more BrainPOP computer science topics.

Blockly: Maze: Build a simple computer application by programming “tag” blocks to reach your target

Run Marco!:Apply your knowledge of coding to guide Marco through his adventures.

Additional Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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