Lesson Plan

Introduction to Computer Programming

This will introduce students to programming and the career of being a programmer.
Marcello S.
Classroom teacher
Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary School
San Jose, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to describe what programming is and understand basic beginning programming language. They will also be able to describe the life of a programmer and benefits of a job in Computer Science.

Grades 6 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

You can use this as a two fold hook, first go here:


Read through the life of a programmer, you can also click on others who are programmers and check out their lives, this should hook kids into the idea of programming and what kind of a life a programmer lives.

Next you can actually view the code of the page you're currently reading! In Chrome click on the menu in the top right (three horizontal lines) then click on "tools" then "view source". For any browser just go to google and type in "how do I see source code in Safari/Firefox/Explorer".

You can do this with any website and kids love to see how crazy it is "behind the curtain" of websites. This is a great time to talk about the skills programmers needed to make these sites and what personal and academic skills students would need to succeed.

You can also view a few more intro videos from on Khan Academy here  https://www.khanacademy.org/cs/programming/intro-to-programming/v/progra...

2 Direct Instruction

Free, Free to try, Paid

This will give kids a chance to be programmers, right away! You should first do any lessons at home on your own and plan out how you will intro key concepts. Click on "getting started with programming" at the link below. This is a very basic intro, and it may sound scary to say that you should teach students the basic (especially if you haven't done it before) but walk through a lesson on your own, and you'll see how easy it is. Remeber to teach it as if they are just learning a new language, computer language, and it has rules and structure just like English or Spanish. You should walk through a lesson as a class on a big screen, kids can just be watching at this point, or following along step-by-step.

I'd highly suggest this track to start out: http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/code-year

3 Guided Practice

Free, Free to try, Paid

Now either have students do the lesson you just showed them and walk around and help them out, or if they walked step-by-step through the lesson with you, you can use this time to introduce some modifcations (change the code a bit) or error analysis, have one partner mess up the code and the other partner fix it. This is a great way to assess understanding and really give the students a chance to gain a deeper understanding of the code.

4 Independent Practice

Free, Free to try, Paid

Here is where some kids will start flying away and start pushing into lessons on their own and where you will have to sit down and small group instruct students who aren't so fluent. That's what's great about Codecademy, everyone can move at their own pace and you don't have to be on eveyrone's shoulder.

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Exploring

Here is where kids can start digging into richer discussions and research, some possible extension activities are:

Have kids write some code on paper at home and try it out in the console the next day to see what happens.

Have kids write "challenge codes" that other students need to proof-edit or fix.

Give students the task of writing about a programmer (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg, etc.) and biographing their life.

Challenge students to come up with apps and websites they would want to design when they are proficient in coding.