Lesson 11: Loops with Scrat

Loop | Ice Age | Scrat


Building on the concept of repeating instructions from "My Loopy Robotic Friends," this stage will have students using loops to get to the acorn more efficiently on Code.org.


In this lesson, students will be learning more about loops and how to implement them in Blockly code. Using loops is an important skill in programming because manually repeating commands is tedious and inefficient. With these Code.org puzzles, students will learn to add instructions to existing loops, gather repeated code into loops, and recognize patterns that need to be repeated.


Warm Up - The Unplugged Foundation (10 min)

Bridging Activity - Choose One

Online Foundation: Preview Loops in Ice Age

Main Activity (30 min)

Wrap Up (5 - 10 min)

Extended Learning

View on Code Studio


Students will be able to:

  • Construct a program using structures that repeat areas of code
  • Improve existing code by finding areas of repetition and moving them into looping structures



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

For the Teacher

For the Students


  • Loop - The action of doing something over and over again.
  • Repeat - Do something again


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Teaching Guide

Warm Up - The Unplugged Foundation (10 min)

Teaching Tip

If your class has already learned cardinal directions, then changing "Up" and "Down" to "North" and "South" shouldn't be a problem. If they have not, we have provided a handy worksheet with the Code.org Compass Rose that you can use to get students onboard. This conversion will come in handy for nearly all of the online puzzles aimed at kindergarten and first grade.

Let students know that they will see those letters in their online programs next to the direction arrows.

Review Unplugged Activity

This lesson relies on the concept of repeat loops that students learned in the previous unplugged activity, My Loopy Robotic Friends. It is important to bring this idea from the real world into digital form so that students understand how to use Blockly blocks to repeat a task multiple times.

Display: Show students a cup stack from the "My Loopy Robotic Friends" exercise that they completed in the lessons prior to this one.

Discuss: Ask students to recall the symbols used in "My Loopy Robotic Friends."

  • What happens when "East" arrow is circled with the number 3? (It moves E 3 times)
  • What is it called when we circle an arrow and add a number? (A repeat loop)

Transition: Once you are satisfied that your students remember "My Loopy Robotic Friends", you can move into the Bridging Activity.

Bridging Activity - Choose One

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

1) Unplugged Activity Using Paper Blocks

Model: Select a pattern from My Loopy Robotic Friends Cup Stack (Course B) - Image Pack from the My Loopy Robotic Friends unplugged activity (if you just modeled an image to review, feel free to keep that one for this portion of the exercise.) Using movement pieces from the Unplugged Blockly Blocks (Grades K-1) - Manipulatives, show students how you would code this shape using Blockly repeat blocks.

Pair/Think: Next, choose another pattern and have the students program what blocks a "robot" would need to read to get the correct stacking of those cups.

Make sure that students understand that only the repeating code needs to go inside of the pink repeat blocks.

Share: Have the students check each other's answers and resolve any questions or bugs that may come up.

2) Online Activity Using Unplugged Arrows

Model: Pull a puzzle from the corresponding online levels. We recommend Lesson 8, Puzzle 4. Show students how to get Scrat to the acorn using My Robotic Friends Symbol Key (Course B) - Key. It can be helpful to call the arrows "North", "South, "East", and "West". Once you have a program, trace it with your finger (or a pointer) and show how Scrat will travel when the program is run.

Pair/Think: Next, move on to a puzzle that is a little more challenging, like Lesson 8, Puzzle 5, and have students try writing programs (using arrows and repeat circles) on their own.

Share: Encourage students to share their programs with other groups and see if they came up with solutions that are the same or different.

Online Foundation: Preview Loops in Ice Age

To finish the connection, preview an online puzzle (or two) as a class.

Model: Reveal an entire online puzzle from the progression to come. We recommend Lesson 8, Puzzle 5. Point out the "Play Area" with Scrat and the acorn, as well as the "Work Space" with the Blockly code. Explain that this Blockly code is now the language that the class will be using to help Scrat get to the acorn. Do students see any similarities to the exercise that they just did? What are the big differences?

Work with your class to drag code into the workspace in such a way that Scrat (eventually) gets to the acorn.

Transition: Students should now be ready to transition to computers to complete online puzzles on their own.

Main Activity (30 min)

As students work through the puzzles, see if they can figure out how many blocks they use with a loop vs. without a loop.

Pre-Express Online Puzzles - Website

Teacher Tip:

Show the students the right way to help classmates by:

  • 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
  • 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.

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?
  • Draw one of the Feeling Faces - Emotion Images that shows how you felt about today's lesson in the corner of your journal page.
  • Draw Scrat and an acorn.
  • Draw yourself using a loop to do an everyday activity, like brushing your teeth.

Extended Learning

So Moving

  • Give the students pictures of actions or dance moves that they can do.
    • Have students arrange moves and add loops to choreograph their own dance.
  • Share the dances with the rest of the class.

Connect It Back

  • Find some YouTube videos of popular dances that repeat themselves.
  • Can your class find the loops?
  • Try the same thing with songs!

Standards Alignment

View full course alignment

CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards

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-10 - Develop programs with sequences and simple loops, to express ideas or address a problem.
  • 1A-AP-11 - Decompose (break down) the steps needed to solve a problem into a precise sequence of instructions.
  • 1A-AP-14 - Debug (identify and fix) errors in an algorithm or program that includes sequences and simple loops.

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
  • 1.L.6 - Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).
SL - Speaking & Listening
  • 1.SL.1 - Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • 1.SL.1.a - Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • 1.SL.1.b - Build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
  • 1.SL.1.c - Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.

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
  • 1.OA.1 - Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for

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.