Lesson Plan

Kids Can Code #WithMathICan

Students use a growth mindset to problem solve, think critically, and fearlessly share their thinking about math concepts to code their own video games!
Emily S.
Technology coordinator
Holly Hills Elementary School
Denver, CO
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies
EdTech Mentor


​Students will use a growth mindset to solve smaller problems in big problems and persevere through difficult practice and try new strategies when stuck as they learn how to design and code their own video games. 

World Class Outcomes:

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • Evaluate knowledge and develop a theory through the process of inquiry
  • Attend to precision

Enduring Understanding:

  • Process impacts results (Following the right steps and procedures impacts how well your solution works)

Essential Questions:

  • How do you create a program? How is problem solving involved?
  • How do we communicate with computers in a language they understand?
  • Why is following a process/procedure important and how does a change in that procedure impact results?

This project also integrates the following ISTE standards:

  • Technology operations and concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.
  • Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, design and manage projects, solve problems, engineer solutions and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources

All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Pre-Planning

Free, Paid

Before beginning the project, create a google site which students can access throughout this unit. You can link or embed the videos, sites, google docs, and embed the padlet pages that will be used throughout this unit. 

2 Formative Assessment: What is coding?

Free, Paid
From $220

1.Begin the class with a formative assessment by asking students: What is coding? Students can record their answers on a padlet board. 

2. Share the BrainPop video Computer Programming/Coding to introduce the idea of coding.

3. Next ask the question: What kind of career opportunities are available to computer programmers? Students can also record their ideas on the padlet board.

4. Share the short film Code Stars using youtube and safeshare.tv. Pasting the youtube code into safeshare.tv allows a safe view for watching youtube movies without the ads and suggestions on youtube that are sometimes inappropriate. "Code Stars" is a short film about some of the most innovative entrepreneurs of our day, the kind of companies they work for, and how they use coding in their job. 

3 Hook & Direct Instruction

Free, Paid

Begin by allowing students to play the game Flappy Bird.

Using code.org, students will learn how to code their own flappy bird game. This "hour of code" lesson provides the direct instruction with 10 lessons which show students how to write code that changes the characters, backgrounds, create different levels of difficulty in obstacles, and more. 

When students reach the end of the lessons, they can create their own unique Flappy Bird game. Students can copy the link to their Flappy Bird game and paste it on a new padlet so other students can play their game. 

4 Formative/Interim Assessment

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Using padlet and discussion, students will self reflect on the World Class Outcomes and Essential Questions throughout their learning experience by clearly explaining their assumptions about the problems they encounter and including  supportive details. They will make clear inferences from the inquiry experience. To encourage a growth mindset, ask students:

What problems did you encounter in your code while creating your flappy bird game? How did you fix them?

Did anyone else have the same problem? How did you solve it?

As you were programming your game, did you find something that worked better in your game?

Once the students have coded their own Flappy Bird game and pasted their link onto a padlet, invite teachers and students of all grade levels to play these games. Video tape the students' and teachers' reactions as they play the different versions of Flappy Bird. They can also fill out feedback forms to share what they like most about each game or provide suggestions for improvement.

Watch the videos and read the feedback forms together as a class. On a google doc, write down the trends students notice about what aspects each grade level liked most/least about their games. Draw conclusions about what different age groups like most in a game.  Ask students to discuss the following questions:

What were some of the differences in the games this class coded? What did you like about some of the different choices your classmates made?

What changes will you make to your game based on the constructive feedback you received? 

They will use this data to code more games. 

5 Guided Practice

1. Give students more coding practice using Made with Code. Students can program a Yeti to Dance.

2. Next, using the feedback received from their Flappy Bird game, students choose an audience for their next game creation. Following the lesson sequence for the PlayLab on code.org, students code an original game using the feedback trends they collected to guide their creation. 

3. When students have created an original PlayLab game, repeat the same steps as followed with the Flappy Bird game: post the link to their game on a padlet, have a variety of teachers and students play the games, collect feedback. 

4. Students can add the new feedback trends to their google doc.

5. Then ask students to grade themselves based on the games they have created so far. Ask students what they would like to do differently on their final, summative assessment.

Differentiation for Advanced Learners

Share the rubric with students. Delete the "1" on a 4 point rubric and move the "4" into the "3" column, etc. Ask the students to write a new "4" for the rubric. 

6 Independent Practice/ Summative Assessment

Activity: Creating

Summative Assessment


Students will demonstrate an openness to ambiguity in exploring ideas as they design their own game using Roblox. As a group, they will decide what makes their game a success by creating the criteria for a 4 on the rubric.  Then students will choose one section of the GVC in which to clearly explain their assumptions (what student believes, but has not proven) about the problem, investigation, or challenge and include supportive details by articulating and reflecting on the evolution of their game.


game designer


Students will identify who their target audience will be as part of their “plan” in the engineering design process. Using the data they collected from their Flappy Bird and PlayLab games, students will then design a game for the target audience they choose.


Students will design, code,  and create an original game that will challenge the player to move through an obstacle course, solve a puzzle, or overcome some kind of challenge.

Product/Performance & Purpose:

Students will use the engineering design process as they imagine, plan, create, improve, and ask questions in order to design and develop their own Roblox game.

Engineering Design Process

Imagine: In the "imagine" stage of the process, students will share a clear vision of their end product.

Plan: During the "planning" stage, students will identify their target audience and develop a theory for how their game will work.

Create: Students will make sense of problems and persevere in solving them as they begin to create their game in the next stage of the engineering design process. They will test their design theory through the process of inquiry, and make clear inferences from the inquiry experience.

Improve: Students will  attend to precision by testing their ideas, assessing their results, and deciding if a new solution is necessary.

Ask Questions: Students will continue to develop and refine their idea by having a test group from their target audience pilot their game and give feedback for improvements before they publish their game for a public audience. To encourage a growth mindset, ask students to reflect on the following questions:

What were some of the suggestions your target audience made? What changes will you make as a result of this constructive feedback?

How has your game evolved during its creation? How do you think it will continue to evolve over time? 

7 Wrap Up

Activity: Assessing
  1. Students publish their game on Roblox for the general public to play and rate.
  2. Students choose one World Class Outcome to assess themselves on and reflect on how they synthesized it throughout this project.