Lesson 2: Programming with Angry Birds

Programming | Algorithms | Maze | Sequencing


Using characters from the game Angry Birds, students will develop sequential algorithms to move a bird from one side of a maze to the pig at the other side. To do this they will stack code blocks together in a linear sequence, making them move straight, turn left, or turn right.


In this lesson, students will develop programming and debugging skills on a computer platform. The block-based format of these puzzles help students learn about sequence and concepts, without having to worry about perfecting syntax.


Warm Up (4 min)

Bridging Activity - Programming (10 min)

Previewing Online Puzzles as a Class (3 min)

Main Activity (30 min)

Wrap Up (5 - 10 min)

Extended Learning

View on Code Studio


Students will be able to:

  • Translate movements into a series of commands.
  • Identify and locate bugs in a program.



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

For the Teacher

For the Students


  • Algorithm - A list of steps to finish a task.
  • Bug - Part of a program that does not work correctly.
  • Debugging - Finding and fixing problems in an algorithm or program.
  • Sequencing - Putting commands in correct order so computers can read the commands.


Report a Bug

Teaching Guide

Warm Up (4 min)


Students will either be learning a lot of new concepts or reviewing a lot of basic concepts. Based on your class's experience, you can cover the following vocabulary or move on to a bridging activity. We recommend using the words in sentences if the definitions aren't explicitly covered.

Bridging Activity - Programming (10 min)

This activity will help bring the unplugged concepts from "Graph Paper Programming" into the online world that the students are moving into. Choose one of the following to do with your class:

Unplugged Activity Using Paper Blocks

Similar to "Graph Paper Programming", have the students in your class pair up. Pass out multiple fill 1, turn left, turn right, and move forward blocks from the Unplugged Blocks for Maze/Farmer/Bee - Grades 2-5 - Manipulatives (PDF) to each pair. Have each pair of students draw a design on a four by four graph from Graph Paper Programming - Worksheet. Next, have the students work together to write the program needed to draw this design using the paper Blockly blocks. Make sure the students know that the program goes from top to bottom and the blocks need to touch!

Preview of Online Puzzles as a Class

Pull up a puzzle from CSF Express Course 2018 - Website. We recommend puzzle 5. Break up the students into groups of three or four. Have them "program" Red, the angry bird, to get to the pig using arrows from "Graph Paper Programming."

The class will not need to use the last arrow.

Once all the groups have an answer, discuss the path as a class.

Previewing Online Puzzles as a Class (3 min)

Students should now be ready to see a real puzzle in action!

Lesson Tip

Some students may struggle with turning their bird in the correct direction, particularly when the bird isn't facing up. Remind students that when we say turn left or right, we're giving directions from the bird's point of view.

Model: Pull up Lesson 2, Puzzle 5 to do in front of the class. This will be the same puzzle that they just saw in the bridging activity. While working through this puzzle with the class, remind students that making mistakes is okay and remind them that the only way to be successful is to be persistent. Remind them that finding the solution might be harder with limitations, but that you believe in them.

Discuss: Does anyone remember how to solve this puzzle?

As the teacher, you should decide if you will have the students remind you how to solve it from their seats, or come to the computer to drag the actual blocks in one-by-one.

Transition: Now that students have seen an online puzzle in practice, they should be ready to start solving puzzles of their own. Continue to the lab or bring out their classroom machines.

Main Activity (30 min)

CSF Express Course 2018 - Website

Teacher Tip:

Show the students the right way to help classmates:

  • Don’t sit in the classmate’s chair
  • Don’t use the classmate’s keyboard
  • Don’t touch the classmate’s mouse
  • Make sure the classmate can describe the solution to you out loud before you walk away

Circulate: Teachers play a vital role in computer science education and supporting a collaborative and vibrant classroom environment. During online activities, the role of the teacher is primarily one of encouragement and support. Online lessons are meant to be student-centered, so teachers should avoid stepping in when students get stuck. Some ideas on how to do this are:

  • Utilize Pair Programming - Student Video whenever possible during the activity.
  • Encourage students with questions/challenges to start by asking their partner.
  • Unanswered questions can be escalated to a nearby group, who might already know the solution.
  • Remind students to use the debugging process before you approach.
  • Have students describe the problem that they’re seeing. What is it supposed to do? What does it do? What does that tell you?
  • Remind frustrated students that frustration is a step on the path to learning, and that persistence will pay off.
  • If a student is still stuck after all of this, ask leading questions to get the student to spot an error on their own.

Discuss: After providing students with end-of-class warnings, grab everyone's attention and get them to reflect on the experiences that they just had.

  • Did anyone feel frustrated during any of the puzzles?
  • Did anyone notice the need to be persistent?

Transition: Have students grab their Thinkspot Journals and take a moment to leave lessons for themselves.

Wrap Up (5 - 10 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.

Journal Prompts:

  • What was today’s lesson about?
  • How did you feel during today’s lesson?
  • Draw an activity you like to do that you struggled with the first time. Draw or describe how you got better.

Extended Learning

Use these activities to enhance student learning. They can be used as outside of class activities or other enrichment.

Create Your Own

In small groups, let students design their own mazes and challenge each other to write programs to solve them. For added fun, make life-size mazes with students as the pig and bird.

Standards Alignment

View full course alignment

CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)

AP - Algorithms & Programming
  • 1A-AP-09 - Model the way programs store and manipulate data by using numbers or other symbols to represent information.
  • 1A-AP-11 - Decompose (break down) the steps needed to solve a problem into a precise sequence of instructions.

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
  • 2.L.6 - Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).
SL - Speaking & Listening
  • 2.SL.1 - Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

Common Core Math Standards

G - Geometry
  • 2.G.2 - Partition a rectangle into rows and columns of same-size squares and count to find the total number of them.
MP - Math Practices
  • MP.1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • MP.3 - Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  • 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
  • 2.OA.1 - Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one- and two-step word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a sy

Next Generation Science Standards

ETS - Engineering in the Sciences
ETS1 - Engineering Design
  • K-2-ETS1-1 - Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
  • K-2-ETS1-2 - Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.
  • K-2-ETS1-3 - Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.