In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 1-8, students use BrainPOP resources (including an online game) to explore computer coding, algorithms, and programming.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explore computer programming through an online game.


  • Computers with internet access
  • Interactive whiteboard

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Introduce students to the topic by playing the BrainPOP movie Computer Programming. If students have no background information on programming, you may want to have them complete the activities in our Program Your Partner lesson plan.
  2. Tell students that they will have the chance to explore simple computer programming through an online game called Run Marco!
  3. Project the game for students and demonstrate how to build applications. During this whole-class demonstration, involve student volunteers and reinforce vocabulary terms (such as 'commands' and 'algorithm') to ensure understanding.
  4. Allow students to explore Run Marco! independently or with a partner for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Have students take a brief break from game play to talk about what they noticed, and what they learned about creating an accurate algorithm. You may want to explore the Run Marco! Tips and Tricks page to learn more about what students are exploring on each level so that you can post questions about specific skills. The page will also provide essential questions for students to discuss.
  6. Provide an additional 5-15 minutes for students to advance through additional levels of the game and apply the understandings they gained during the class discussion.
  7. Encourage students to create their own version of the Run Marco! game, either online or offline. Have them work collaboratively to design an opportunity for classmates to practice coding and writing algorithms in order to complete a specific task. Allow students to explore one another's games and relate them to what they know about computer programming.