Grade Levels: K-3

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 2-3, students explore BrainPOP Jr. resources to learn about booleans and conditionals and recognize how these expressions and statements tell computers what actions to perform. In small groups, students play an “If….Then” game in which one student is the programmer and everyone else is a computer.

Students will:

  1. Understand that a conditional is a statement that instructs a computer to perform an action depending on whether something is true or false.
  2. Watch a BrainPOP Jr. movie about conditionals and share what they know.
  3. Play an offline game to show their understanding of conditionals.

Materials:

  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • A die

Vocabulary:

boolean, conditional

Preparation:

  • Preview the movie Conditionals to plan for any adaptations.
  • Read Conditionals Background.
  • On the board write the conditional statements:
  • “If I _____, then you_____.” “If I _____, then you _____ or else _____.”

    Lesson Procedure:

    1. Show the class a die. Say, “IF I roll a 3 or lower, I will hop on one foot.” Roll the die. If you roll a 3, 2, or 1, then hop on one foot. If you roll a 4, 5, or 6, do not hop, and explain that you did not meet the condition of rolling a 3 or lower so therefore, you are not hopping.
    2. Explain the difference between a true and false condition. Tell the class that if you had rolled a 1, 2, or 3, the condition would be true, and you would hop. If you rolled higher than a 3, then the condition would be false, and so you would not hop.
    3. Now add an extra condition for when the conditional is false. Say, “IF I roll a 3 or lower, then I hop. Or ELSE everyone claps their hands.”
    4. Roll the die. Either hop or the class claps depending on the number. Then prompt the class to describe what happened. They should recognize that if you rolled a 3 or lower, the condition is TRUE so you hopped. Or else the condition was false and everyone clapped.
    5. Now show the BrainPOP Jr. movie Conditionals on an interactive whiteboard for the whole class. Pause at various points to reinforce student understanding of key concepts and vocabulary.
    6. Next, divide the class into small groups. In each group, assign one student to be the Programmer and everyone else to be a Computer. Draw students’ attention to the first command on the chalkboard (see Preparation): “If I _____, then you_____.” Explain that the Programmer is to fill in the blanks with whatever actions she/he chooses and say the statement to the Computers. You can give an example, such as “If I clap, then you hop.”
    7. After the Computers successfully follow the command, challenge the Programmer to add on by giving an “or else” statement—something that happens if the condition is false. Point out the second command on the chalkboard: “If I _____, then you _____ or else _____.” Again, have the Programmer fill in the blanks. For example, If I clap, then you hop. Or else shake your head. Allow time for everyone in each group to be the Programmer at least once.
    8. Finally, bring the class together again. Ask what they think the game has to do with computer programming. They should understand that just like they gave conditions to their classmates, programmers create conditional statements that tell a computer to perform an action depending on whether a condition is true or false.
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