Lesson Plan

Understanding Algorithms (Computer Science Class)

In this lesson 1st-4th grade students will be introduced to the concept of an algorithm.
Mr H.
Principal/head of school
Dinuba Junior Academy
Dinuba, CA
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My Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Health & Wellness

Students will be able to...

1)  Explain the terminology "algorithm".

2)  Formulate clear and accurate step-by-step instructions to reach a desired goal/destination.

Grades 1 - 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Engage

1. Teacher asks, “Have you ever made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before?”

2.  Teacher continues, “Who can tell me how to make one?”

3.  Teacher listens for feedback.

4.  Teacher guides feedback to as near a step-by-step format as possible.

2 Explore

Activity: Investigating

1.  Say to students, "I am lost!  Can you help me?"

2.  To small groups, hand out prepared grid maps (each block is one step) with clear commonly known locations (school, Walmart, gas station, church, etc.) that students understand.

3.  Groups "explore" how to direct a lost person (teacher) from on point to the other.

4. Teacher circulates observing and listening to students as they interact.

5.  Teacher asks questions, checking if students understand how to give step-by-step directions/instructions.

3 Explain : The Importance of Step-By-Step Directions/Instructions

1.  Allow students to explain what they "explored"; Share how they gave directions.

2.  Teach technology/computer vocabulary "algorithm, forward, repeat, left, right".

3.  Define "algorithm" - a list of step-by-step directions (to a certain point)


4 Elaborate

1.  Pair older students with younger students

2.  Go to “Blocky : Maze” site: https://blockly-games.appspot.com/maze

3.  No login necessary

4.  Direct students to level 1-4 (easy)

5.  Younger students do levels 1, 3 and older students do levels 2, 4.

5 Evaluate

Students will write code.  First they will need to:

1.  Log in

2.  Go to https://studio.code.org/hoc/1 (Teacher may preset on devices)

3.  Look at the video 

4.  Start coding!

5.  Have students tell partners what a algorithm is.

6.  Teacher gets report on how students did on step-by-step (creating an algorithm) in their online lessons.

Student Instructions

1.  Raise hand, if needs assistance

2.  May need to share computers

3.  Work together to solve puzzles

6 Additional Resource

7 Optional Activity

Activity: Creating

At home, students must: 

1.  Say to their parent, an "algorithm" is a step-by-step directions (to a desired destination)

2.  The student asks his/her parent to participate in a small demonstration in the home.

3.  Starting from the front door, student guides a parent to the refrigerator, piano, fireplace, bed, etc.  (Example: five steps forward, go one step to the left, etc).

4.  Students record results, (easy, difficult, too long, too short, interesting, ect).

5.  Brings the record signed by the parent and gives to the teacher.