An easy introduction to programming for beginners in lower elementary grades. Familiarize your class with visual programming techniques. Students progress through the lessons learning concepts in a game-like interface. To complete each lesson, students typically go through a concept review, solve a puzzle, run through a tutorial, build their own project, and take a quiz. They create interactive stories, animations, and mini-games to help Professor Ada battle the evil Dr. Glitch! After completing this lesson plan, students will be able to build a wide variety of simple programs with events, loops, and some conditional logic.
- Conditional logic
- Pen drawing
- Drawing shapes and patterns
- Playing musical notes
- Sending and receiving messages
- Handling user input
- Color detection
* Online courses require a modern desktop computer, laptop computer, Chromebook, or Netbook with Internet access and a Chrome (29+), Firefox (30+), Safari (7+), or Edge (20+) browser. No downloads required.
* Tablet courses require an iPad (iOS 10+) with Tynker or Tynker Junior app installed and Internet access
Programming 101 Lesson Plan
Time: 60+ mins
IntroductionWelcome to Programming 101, a course for beginner coders! In this lesson, students are introduced to coding by solving fun puzzles. By the end of this lesson, students will have used coding concepts such as simple commands, loops, conditional loops, and conditionals to help a friendly monster collect candy!
Note: The teacher dashboard displays 6 modules (i.e., Pick Up the Candy, Repetition with Loops, Two Loops, Using Conditional Loops, Using “Not” in Loops, Conditionals). However, there are a total of 15 puzzle modules in this lesson.
New Code Blocks
: Start program when the play button is selected. : Move the Actor one step forward. : Make the Actor jump over an obstacle, landing on the other side. : Repeat blocks inside this loop a specified number of times. : Make the Actor repeat this loop until a true or false [boolean value] determines when the block should stop repeating the code inside it. : Make the Actor repeat this loop while the condition is true. : If the condition is true, then run the code inside the block. : If the condition is true, then run the code inside the “if” section. Otherwise, run the code inside the “else” section.
- Coding: Using a computer language to tell the computer what to do
- Sequence: The order in which steps or events happen
- Actors: Tynker characters and objects that can talk and interact with each other
- Command: A specific action or instruction that tells the computer to do something
- Loop: An action that repeats one or more commands over and over
- Counting loop: A loop that repeats one or more commands a specific number of times
- Condition: A logical expression that evaluates to true or false
- Conditional statement: A type of statement that executes different parts of the code based on whether a logical expression evaluates to true or false.
- Use code blocks to create a program
- Apply sequencing of steps
- Use loops for repetition
- Use conditional statements and branching logic
- Computers, laptops, or mobile devices (1 per student) with student account access to Tynker.com
Warm-Up (15 minutes)Explain that the class is going to learn about coding, which means using a computer language to tell the computer what to do. Model this concept by playing a game of Simon Says:
- Tell students to only follow instructions after the phrase “Simon says.”
- Say, “Simon says clap your hands.”
- Say, “Simon says clap your hands 3 times.”
- Say, “Simon says walk forward until you touch an obstacle (e.g., chair, desk, wall)”
- Explain that a command is a specific action or instruction. Ask, “What are some commands I used during our game of Simon Says?”
- Explain that a loop is an action that repeats one or more commands a specific number of times. Ask, “Can you think of any loops we used during our game of Simon Says? If we were playing Simon Says and I wanted the class to jump 5 times, what should I say?” (Simon says jump 5 times)
- Explain that “Simon says walk forward until you touch an obstacle” is an example of a conditional statement. Ask, “Who can give another example of a conditional statement?”
Activities (45 minutes)Facilitate as students complete all Introduction modules on their own:
1. Pick Up the Candy (Puzzle)
- Students will need to use two “walk” blocks to get the monster to the candy.
- Check that students are attaching their code blocks.
- Students will practice using the “walk” block to solve a slightly more challenging puzzle.
- Are students struggling? Give a hint: Tell students to look at how many spaces are in front of the monster, then have it “walk” that many times.
- This puzzle introduces the “jump” block, which makes the monster jump over an obstacle and land on the other side.
- Students will have to use the correct sequence of “jump” and “walk” to solve the puzzle.
- Are students struggling? Encourage them to say or write down the sequence before using any code blocks.
- This puzzle introduces the "repeat" block, which tells the monster to do the same thing a specific number of times.
- Check that students are attaching the “walk” block inside the “repeat” block.
- Optional: Ask students, “Why does the ‘repeat’ block have a value of ‘9’?” (There are 9 spaces in front of the monster, so we need the “walk” block to repeat 9 times)
- Optional: Ask students to solve the puzzle module without the “repeat” block. Ask, “Do you think this program is better with or without the ‘repeat’ block?”
- Encourage students to look for a pattern and say or write down the steps before using any code blocks.
- Students can solve this puzzle by placing the “walk” and “jump” blocks three times, but encourage them to use the “repeat” block.
- Are students struggling with the “repeat” block? Give a hint: Tell students that two code blocks need to go inside the “repeat” block.
- In this puzzle, students will need to avoid the blue block.
- This puzzle is similar to the previous one, but students will need to attach one “walk” block below the “repeat” block.
- There are a variety of ways to solve this puzzle, so students can be creative.
- Optional: Encourage students who find one solution quickly to come up with a different one! For example, students may figure out that they don’t need to have an obstacle to use the “jump” block; it just moves them forward two spaces. Here’s a different creative solution: “On Start - Jump - Walk - Jump - Jump - Walk.”
- Are students struggling? Encourage them to say or write down the monster’s sequence before using any code blocks.
- Give a hint: Tell students to place one “jump” block between two “repeat” blocks.
- Although students can solve this puzzle by using the “jump” and “walk” blocks two times, encourage them to use the “repeat until” block.
- Remind students that the monster will repeat blocks inside the “repeat until” loop until it reaches the jelly bean. Emphasize that the code stops repeating once the monster reaches the jelly bean.
- Give a hint: Tell students that two code blocks go inside the “repeat until” loop.
- Although students can solve this puzzle by using the “walk” and “jump” blocks three times, encourage them to use the “repeat while” block.
- Ask, “What does the monster need to do to reach the gumdrop?” (walk - jump - walk - jump - walk - jump)
- Remind students that the monster will repeat blocks inside the “repeat while” loop while it does not have a gumdrop.
- Emphasize that the code inside the “repeat while” loop stops repeating once the monster reaches the gumdrop.
- Give a hint: Tell students that two code blocks go inside the “repeat while” loop.
- Ask, “What should the monster do if there is a blue block one space in front of it?” (jump)
- Ask, “What action should the monster repeat until it reaches the red mint?” (walk)
- Explain to students that the “if” block will only work when the monster has a blue block one space in front of it.
- Give a hint: Tell students to place the “if” block inside the “repeat until” block.
- This puzzle uses multiple conditionals to get the monster to the gumdrop.
- Give a hint: Tell students to place two different “if” blocks inside the “repeat until” block.
- Ask, “If there is a blue block in front of the monster, what do we need it to do?” (jump)
- Ask, “If there is a path in front of the monster, what do we need it to do?” (walk)
- This puzzle introduces the “if-else” block, which has two separate possible outcomes.
- Ask, “If there is a bottle cap, what do we need the monster to do?” (jump)
- Explain that “else” is another way of saying “otherwise.”
- Ask, “Otherwise, what do we need the monster to do?” (walk)
- Give a hint: Tell students to place one “if-else” block inside the “repeat until” loop.
- Another way to phrase the solution is: If there is a bottle cap in front of the monster, it will jump. Otherwise, the monster will walk.
Extended Activities (10 minutes)Patterns and Loops
1. Have students create a pattern using the words “jump” and “walk.” Optional: Model at least two examples:
- Example I: jump, jump, walk, jump, jump, walk, jump, jump, walk
- Example II: walk, jump, walk, jump
3. Have students trade papers with a neighbor.
4. Tell students to identify their neighbor's pattern by circling the pattern and state how many times the pattern repeats.
5. Optional: As a class, act out the repeating loop in your students’ examples.
6. Remind students that a loop is an action that repeats something over and over.
7. As a class, discuss activities that require you to repeat or loop actions.
- CCSS-Math: 2.OA.B.2, 3.NBT.A.2, MP.1
- CCSS-ELA: RF.1.1, RF.2.4, RF.2.4.A, RF.3.4.A, RF.4.4.A, RI.2.6
- CSTA: 1A-AP-09, 1A-AP-10, 1A-AP-11, 1B-AP-10, 1B-AP-11, 1B-AP-15
- CS CA: K-2.AP.12, K-2.AP.13, K-2.AP.16, 3-5.AP.12, 3-5.AP.13, 3-5.AP.17
- ISTE: 1.c, 1.d, 4.d, 5.c, 5.d, 7.c
U.K. StandardsNational Curriculum of England (Computing)
Key Stage 3:
- Design, use, and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
- Understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking (for example, ones for sorting and searching); use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem
- Use two or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems; make appropriate use of data structures (for example, lists, tables, or arrays); design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions
- Understand simple Boolean logic (for example, AND, OR, and NOT) and some of its uses in circuits and programming; understand how numbers can be represented in binary, and be able to carry out simple operations on binary numbers (for example, binary addition, and conversion between binary and decimal)
- Understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds, and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits
- Develop their capability, creativity, and knowledge in computer science, digital media, and information technology
- Develop and apply their analytic, problem-solving, design, and computational thinking skills