Lesson 12: Conditionals & Loops in Maze
In this lesson, students will be pairing together two key concepts: loops and conditionals. This set of puzzles bridges the gaps in understanding that occur when working on puzzles that use multiple kinds of blocks. By bringing two ideas together, students will create more complex code that shows both impressive creativity and critical thinking!
This set of puzzles will work to solidify and build on the knowledge of conditionals and loops. By pairing these concepts together, students will be able to explore the potential for creating complex and innovative programs.
Warm Up (10 min)
Main Activity (30 min)
Wrap Up (15 min)
Students will be able to:
- Build programs with the understanding of multiple strategies to implement conditionals.
- Translate spoken language conditional statements and loops into a program.
- Play through Course D Online Puzzles - Website to find any potential problem areas for your class.
- Review CS Fundamentals Main Activity Tips - Lesson Recommendations.
- Make sure every student has a Think Spot Journal - Reflection Journal.
Heads Up! Please make a copy of any documents you plan to share with students.
For the Teachers
For the Students
- Think Spot Journal - Reflection Journal
- Condition - Something a program checks to see if it is true before allowing an action.
- Conditionals - Statements that only run under certain conditions.
- Loop - The action of doing something over and over again.
- Repeat - To do something again.
- While Loop - A loop that continues to repeat while a condition is true.
Warm Up (10 min)
Students will be bringing together the new
while loops and new
if / else statements, so this introduction will go over what these blocks do in a general sense.
Ask the class if they remember what "while" means in coding. Go over the definition of a while loop.
- While Loop: A loop that continues to repeat while a condition is true.
In addition to
while loops, students will practice with
until loops in this set of puzzles. Explain to the students that
while loops continue to repeat code while a condition is true, whereas
until loops continue until a condition is true.
For example, with a
while loop, the zombie will continue to walk down a path while there is a path ahead. With an
until loop, the zombie will continue to walk forward until it reaches the flower at the end of the path. This will be shown in more detail inside the puzzles.
If / Else Statements
Ask the class if they remember what "if" and "else" mean in coding. Go over the definition of a conditional.
- Conditional: Statements that only run under certain conditions or situations.
Students will be using conditionals to test if there are paths to the left or right. Explain that conditionals are extremely flexible and can be used in a way that your program can adapt to almost any situation.
All Together Now
Ask the class to explain why
while loops are conditionals. How are they different from
if / else statements? Open up a discussion on when to use
while loops and when to use
if / else statements.
Main Activity (30 min)
Bringing together concepts is not easy, but this set of lessons is meant to bridge
if / else statements and
while loops together for students to see the endless possibilities of coding when using the pair. If students struggle at all with understanding the similarities or differences between
if / else statements,
while loops, or
until loops, have them go back and practice on previous puzzles that only uses one of the three.
Wrap Up (15 min)
Having students write about what they learned, why it’s useful, and how they feel about it can help solidify any knowledge they obtained today and build a review sheet for them to look to in the future.
- What was today's lesson about?
- How do you feel about today's lesson?
- What's the difference between an
untilloop and a
- What do you like using the most:
if / elsestatements,
Until Simon Says
Go out to a large playing field and have the students stand in a line facing you. Make sure every student can see you. Declare a couple of "until loops" such as:
- Until my right hand is raised up, you can walk toward me
- Until I say "eggplant", you can walk backwards in my direction
- Until I turn my head to the right, you have to walk like a crab
The first student to get to you wins. If there's time, let other students be "Simon" at the front of the class.
Take a close look at the code below. What do you think will happen when you click "Run"?
The bird will not move at all.
The bird will make it to the pig.
The bird will move forward and run into the TNT.
I don't know.
"Dear person. Me zombie. Me hungry. Must... get... to sunflower..."
Can you get the zombie to the sunflower using only the blocks that are available?
if block to help the zombie decide when to turn, then get the zombie to the sunflower.
Challenge: Avoid the chompers and help the zombie get to the sunflower.
Look carefully at the code below. What will happen after you click "Run"?
The zombie will turn right immediately and get stuck.
The zombie will make it to the sunflower.
The zombie will turn right on the first path and go around in circles forever.
I don't know.
CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)
AP - Algorithms & Programming
- 1B-AP-11 - Decompose (break down) problems into smaller, manageable subproblems to facilitate the program development process.
This list represents opportunities in this lesson to support standards in other content areas.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards
L - Language
- 3.L.6 - Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
SL - Speaking & Listening
- 3.SL.1 - Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
- 3.SL.3 - Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
- 3.SL.6 - Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
Common Core Math Standards
MP - Math Practices
- MP.1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
- MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively
- MP.4 - Model with mathematics
- MP.5 - Use appropriate tools strategically
- MP.6 - Attend to precision
- MP.7 - Look for and make use of structure
- MP.8 - Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning
OA - Operations And Algebraic Thinking
- 3.OA.3 - Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.1
Next Generation Science Standards
ETS - Engineering in the Sciences
ETS1 - Engineering Design
- 3-5-ETS1-2 - Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.