Lesson 17: Functions in Bee

Function | Bee


In the second round of practice with online functions, students will navigate complex paths, collect plenty of nectar, and make lots of honey.


Students will discover the versatility of programming by practicing functions in different environments. Here, students will recognize patterns in the bee's maze. The bee will need to navigate the play area, collect nectar, and make honey. Students will learn to organize their programs and create functions for repeated code.


Warm Up (10 min)

Main Activity (30 min)

Wrap Up (15 min)


Students will be able to:

  • Use functions to simplify complex programs.
  • Use pre-determined functions to complete commonly repeated tasks.



Heads Up! Please make a copy of any documents you plan to share with students.

For the Teacher

For the Students


  • Function - A named group of programming instructions. Functions are reusable abstractions that reduce the complexity of writing and maintaining programs.


Report a Bug

Teaching Guide

Warm Up (10 min)


Ask the students if they enjoyed creating images in Artist during the last lesson. Open up a class discussion on the puzzles they encountered (both hard and easy).

Tell the class that they will now be using functions to simplify code with a bee. The bee needs to traverse a maze, collect nectar, and make honey. Functions will make their program cleaner by compartmentalizing complex chunks of code.

This might be a good time to discuss the differences between using functions and using loops.

  • Use loops when you need to do something several times in a row, exactly the same way
  • Use a function when you need to do something at different times in the same program

Main Activity (30 min)

Course E Online Puzzles - Website

Similar to the last lesson, students may benefit from programming without functions then creating functions from repeated code. We recommend providing paper and pencils for students to write (or draw) out their ideas. Also, if students are having trouble recognizing patterns, have them work with a partner on the harder puzzles.

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 did your functions do in the programs you wrote today? How did that help you?
  • When should you use a function instead of a loop?

Standards Alignment

View full course alignment

CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards

AP - Algorithms & Programming
  • 1B-AP-08 - Compare and refine multiple algorithms for the same task and determine which is the most appropriate.
  • 1B-AP-11 - Decompose (break down) problems into smaller, manageable subproblems to facilitate the program development process.

Cross-curricular Opportunities

This list represents opportunities in this lesson to support standards in other content areas.

Common Core English Language Arts Standards

L - Language
  • 4.L.6 - Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g
SL - Speaking & Listening
  • 4.SL.1 - Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • 4.SL.1.a - Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
  • 4.SL.4 - Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • 4.SL.6 - Differentiate between contexts that call for formal English (e.g., presenting ideas) and situations where informal discourse is appropriate (e.g., small-group discussion); use formal English when appropriate to task and situation.

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
NBT - Number And Operations In Base Ten
  • 4.NBT.4 - Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.

Next Generation Science Standards

ETS - Engineering in the Sciences
ETS1 - Engineering Design
  • 3-5-ETS1-1 - Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • 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.