Lesson 3: Move It, Move It


This lesson will work to prepare students mentally for the coding exercises that they will encounter over the length of this course. In small teams, students will use physical activity to program their classmates to step carefully from place to place until a goal is achieved.


By using physical movement to program their classmates, students will run into issues and emotions similar to what they will feel when they begin coding on a computer. Encountering those stresses in a playful and open environment will help to alleviate intensity and allow students to practice necessary skills before they run into problems on their own.


Warm Up (20 min)

Activity: Move It, Move It (20 minutes)

Wrap-up (10 min)

Extended Learning

View on Code Studio


Students will be able to:

  • Define a list of steps (algorithm) to get a friend from their starting position to their goal
  • Translate a list of steps into a series of physical actions
  • Identify and fix errors in the execution of an algorithm



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

For the Teacher

For the Students


  • Algorithm - A precise sequence of instructions for processes that can be executed by a computer
  • Bug - Part of a program that does not work correctly.
  • Debugging - Finding and fixing problems in an algorithm or program.
  • Frustrated - Feeling annoyed or angry because something is not the way you want it.
  • Persistence - Trying again and again, even when something is very hard.


Report a Bug

Teaching Guide

Warm Up (20 min)

Where did I go wrong?

Teaching Tip

If your class has not already learned cardinal directions, it will be worth covering them before they begin Course B. This conversion will come in handy for nearly all of the online puzzles aimed at first grade, as well as several of the unplugged activities.

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

Goal: In this lesson, we want to help students learn to identify and fix bugs in their own programs. The easiest way to do that is to first present students with a program that contains bugs that are not their fault. Once they've helped you fix "your" program, share with them how frustrating it can be to make mistakes, and help them see that those feelings are completely normal and they shouldn't feel embarrassed by them.

Display: Put an image of Move It, Move It Teacher Debugging Puzzle - PDF up on the screen where everyone can see it.

Discuss: Get the attention of the class and let them know that you are stuck! You have this challenge, and you thought you had solved it, but it doesn't seem to be working. Your program has a bug, can they help you fix it?

Take a moment to walk them through the rules: - Start at the compass rose - Follow the instructions step-by-step - End at the happy face

Optional: Walk through your program using your fingers on top of the map, under the document camera. Express frustration when your fingers end up off the map, instead of at the treasure.

Think: My program says "East, East, North". Can you figure out why my program doesn't work?

Pair: Let students work together to see if they can figure out what the program is supposed to say.

Share: Ask students if anyone was able to figure out a way to solve the problem. When you get a correct answer, let the students know that they are great at "debugging"!

Content Corner

For more on persistence and frustration, try reading Stevie and the Big Project to your students. It will help them spot moments of frustration. It will also help give them the tools to deal with it.

If you do not read the book, take a moment to cover tips on frustration and persistence as a class:

Tips to Help With Frustration
  • Count to 10
  • Take deep breaths
  • Journal about them
  • Talk to a partner about them
  • Ask for help
Tips for Being Persistent
  • Keep track of what you have already tried
  • Describe what is happening
  • Describe what is supposed to happen
  • What does that tell you?
  • Make a change and try again

Discuss: Ask the students if they could tell how you were feeling when you couldn't figure out the answer. They might suggest that you were "mad" or "sad". Instead of telling them "no", describe that you were feeling a little bit mad, a little bit sad, and a little bit confused. When you put all of those emotions together, it makes a feeling called "frustration". When you are "frustrated" you might think you are mad, sad, or confused -- and you might be tempted to give up -- but frustration is a natural feeling and it's a big hint that you are about to learn something! Instead of quitting, practice persistence. Keep trying over and over again. After a few times, you will start to understand how to debug your problems!

Distribute: To make sure that students understand the idea of finding and fixing errors (debugging) pass out the Move It, Move It: Debugging - PDF and have students complete the task in pairs.

Optional: If you want to move the activity along more quickly, feel free to complete these as a class, instead.

Transition: Now it's time to play the game!

Activity: Move It, Move It (20 minutes)

Distribute: Hand each group of 2-3 students a packet of Move It, Move It maps, as well as the blank papers for the grid on the ground. Allow students to either cut the halves of each map apart, or fold the sheets in half so that each map is clearly visible (without distraction.)

Set-Up: In each group, each player will get a task.

  • Player 1: Choose/set-up the map to play
  • Player 2: Programmer
  • Player 3: Walking Machine

Directions for Class:

1) Decide who will take each job.
2) Have player 1 set a grid on the floor made up of pieces of paper (as shown on one of the Move It Maps) except with the gem paper facing the ground.
3) Player 3 will start by standing on the page with the compass rose.
4) Player 2 will then guide player 3 step-by-step through the paper maze using the provided arm signals.
5) When player 2 gives the signal to “STOP”, player 3 will flip over the page that they are on. If that page is a gem, then the maze was a success!
6) If there is time, let everyone rotate positions and go again!

Note that the rules are not the most important thing here. Feel free to clarify if the students have questions, but if the students are playing a bit differently than described, you don't need to hold them to the letter of the game. The crucial bit is that they are moving from immediate instructions to giving two or three instructions before the Walking Machine moves.

Teaching Tip

Here are some useful links in case your class hasn't yet talked about the compass rose and cardinal directions:

Wrap-up (10 min)


Give the students a journal prompt to help them process some of the things that they encountered during the day. You can choose one of the prompts below, or make up your own.

Journal Prompts:

  • Draw a feeling face in the corner of your journal page
  • What were the four directions on the compass rose?
    • What tricks can we use to remember North, South, East and West?
  • Draw another way we could we have given instructions without using our arms
  • Draw your favorite part about that game

Extended Learning

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

X's and O's

  • Draw a tic-tac-toe board for the class.
  • Place a single X and a single O somewhere on the board.
  • Ask the class if they can get the X to the O using arm gestures as a class.

X's, O's, and Arrows

  • Similar to the activity above, but have the students write their programs in advance using arrows instead of hand gestures.
    • This can be done in groups.
    • Groups can share their solutions for the class.
  • Levels
  • 1
  • 2
  • (click tabs to see student view)
View on Code Studio

Student Instructions

View on Code Studio

Student 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
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • K.L.6 - Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.
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.2 - Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
  • 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.
  • 2.SL.2 - Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
  • K.SL.1 - Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • K.SL.2 - Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.

Common Core Math Standards

CC - Counting And Cardinality
  • K.CC.4 - Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
G - Geometry
  • K.G.1 - Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.
MP - Math Practices
  • MP.1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  • MP.6 - Attend to precision
  • MP.7 - Look for and make use of structure
  • MP.8 - Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning