As algorithms and programming are fairly new concepts to me, I decided to go with a formative and introductory task designed for early primary students to teach them about sequencing. The skills learnt in these early years are designed to lead into more complex understanding about programming and algorithms.
I would find a simple recipe online, such as pasta, noodles or a salad, and mix up the order of the instructions. Students would then be asked to put the instructions in the right and logical order. Whilst not directly in relation to digital technologies or computational thinking, this task would teach students the importance of sequencing. An extension for more advanced students would require them to write their own recipe, perhaps of their favourite meal, to see that they understand how logical ordering works. This task would also tie into the literacy capability, as procedural writing is a unit taught in the early to middle years of primary.
This task would lead nicely into further and deeper learning about algorithms and programming as it is expected that students;
- understand that computers require explicit instructions.
- can explain that an algorithm is a step-by-step sequence of instructions.
- can re-order instructions or develop instructions that form a logical sequence.
- use descriptive and precise language when giving instructions.
- can provide a set of instructions to achieve a desired outcome.