Task 6: Algorithms and Programming
Option 2: Design an activity that explores sequences of instructions. In the early years, this could be an activity that encourages children to develop skills in putting things into a logical sequence. In the older years this could be more complex and involve students playing a game or doing an activity.
Students use abstractions by identifying common elements across similar problems and systems. They develop an understanding of the relationship between models and the real-world systems they represent.
This activity has been designed at a Year 5 level, please see notes for suggestions for Year 6 and lower years.
This particular lesson has been designed to happen after an explicit coding class where the class have been using a ipad coding game such as one found in the Apple Swift playground (https://www.apple.com/au/swift/playgrounds/) or experience playing with coding in Scratch – see Code Club Au (https://codeclubau.org/projects/scratch-projects) for some excellent examples.
The lesson begins by reviewing typical coding instructions; move forward, back, stop, turn left ect.
Then directives are reviewed; stop, repeat, if X do Y ect. These are on laminated A4 cards.
The students are then put into groups of three and are asked to create a set of instructions to get a real-life person from one point to another. They are taken to the school netball court, were 50cm x 50cm squares have been chalked onto the court. Each of these represents a step.
The students decide upon a destination for the volunteer/teacher to go to and then place the code on the ground in a sequence. The volunteer then follows this code. The group is successful if the volunteer reached the stated destination by following the coded sequence.
To test their coded sequence, students may use an iPad code game like the one listed above to double check their understanding.
At this level, the following Curriculum Codes are primarily addressed:
Data is represented using codes (ACTDIK015)
As extension and differentiation, (as well as more specific Curriculum codes) the following challenges can be introduced:
- Group pathways are hindered with blocks or certain squares are not allowed to be crossed
- Certain criteria are introduced; eg this square may only be crossed after fifteen moves, this gate may only be opened after three cycles ect
Define a problem, and set of sequenced steps, with users making a decision to create a solution for a given task (WATPPS27)
Variations of this plan may be instigated from Year 1, with appropriate scaffolding and teaching.
For example, if Year ones have mastered using BeeBots, they could become BeeBots themselves, with groups creating simple codes to go from one real world place to another.
Middle primary years could begin discussions about decision making; for instance they could experiment with talking in code eg “Check weather, if raining, remain indoors, repeat, if not raining, play outside, check time, if 12:40, go indoors, if not repeat.”