Coding and How-to Writing

Shelli Cox, Patricia Turner | Published: December 16th, 2022 by Oklahoma Young Scholars/Javits

• Subject English/Language Arts
• Course
• Time Frame 150 minutes
• Duration 5 class periods

Summary

In this lesson, students use an autonomous robot called a BeeBot. Students discover coding is a tool for learning to read and write step-by-step instructions. As students translate by verbalizing step-by-step instructions (sequencing) into real-world tasks, they also make connections to the process of writing a sequential story.

Essential Question(s)

How can we use sequential language to write and explain how to complete a general task? How can we use this knowledge of sequential vocabulary to complete a coding task?

Snapshot

Engage

Students verbalize how to walk to create a square. The class then creates an Anchor Chart of the sequence words they used when verbalizing walking in a square. Next, ask students to demonstrate how to make Mr. BeeBot move using the commands the class gives.

Explore

Students work in pairs to explore how to make the BeeBots move by inputting simple commands.

Explain

Use the S-I-T strategy to explain exploration of the BeeBots. Read If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed aloud on the carpet.

Extend

Mr. BeeBot has a problem he needs solved. Students work in pairs to solve an assigned task of getting Mr. BeeBot from one point to another. Students map out their routes and test until successful.

Evaluate

Students write a letter to Mr. BeeBot explaining "how to" solve his problem by writing out the step-by-step directions they used for getting from one place to another.

Engage

30 Minute(s)

Ask students how they would walk to make the shape of a square. Then have students stand, verbalize the step-by-step directions, and walk to make a square.

Create a class Anchor Chart of sequencing words by asking students what words they used when verbalizing their step-by-step procedure of creating their square.

When the Anchor Chart is complete, have students sit in a circle on the carpet. Show them a BeeBot and ask if any students have ever seen or used one before. Tell them they will use the vocabulary on the chart to make the BeeBot move in a square. When they create a command to make a robot move a certain way, it is called coding.

Explore

25 Minute(s)

MODEL HOW TO APPROPRIATELY USE THE BEEBOT! Remind the students that BeeBots are delicate and need to be handled with care. Let them know that they will be working with the BeeBots on the floor so that the BeeBots will not accidentally fall off of the table and break.

Use fair share sticks to partner students. Have BeeBots set up around the room (ON THE FLOOR) and give students 15-20 minutes to freely explore with the BeeBots. Suggest that they practice making the BeeBot go in different directions and on multiple paths.

Explain

30 Minute(s)

Using the S-I-T strategy, have students talk with their table groups about their experiences with the BeeBots. They can name Surprising, Interesting, and Troubling components of using the BeeBots. After a few minutes of table talk, each table will choose a representative to present one surprising, interesting, and troubling part they discussed. Doing this will enable other student groups to help each group troubleshoot their "troubling" component.

Have students come to the carpet and read the book If Your Monster Won't Go to Bed aloud. Then, have students turn and talk with an Elbow Partner about the sequence words from the Anchor Chart used in the book.

Ask students if any new sequence words need to be added to the Anchor Chart. Add these words to the chart.

Then, ask students how our character solved the monster's problem of not going to bed.

Finally, have students use the sequencing vocabulary to tell their Elbow Partner "how to" get a monster to go to bed.

Extend

30 Minute(s)

Use the attached task cards, which will require the students to create a 4-5 step coding process, to help Mr. BeeBot with his location problems. Next, have students work in pairs to help Mr. BeeBot solve these problems by mapping out, creating the code, and testing to see if their code works to get Mr. BeeBot to the correct places.

Evaluate

30 Minute(s)

Have students complete a "Dear Mr. BeeBot" letter. This letter should explain to Mr. BeeBot how they successfully helped him get to a specific location. Tell them they can use arrows along with their sequencing vocabulary in their writing.

60 Minute(s)

Some of your students will move through the coding process very quickly. To keep all students actively engaged, here are a few suggestions that students will find interesting and challenging.

• Have them create their own situation that Mr. BeeBot needs help solving; then they can create a map of the solution.

• Have them create mazes that Mr. BeeBot could travel through.

• Have them create how-to videos modeling how to use a BeeBot.

• Have them create stop-motion videos moving the BeeBot from one place to another.