Lesson 4: Sequencing with Scrat

Overview

Using Scrat from the Ice Age franchise, students will develop sequential algorithms to move a squirrel character from one side of a maze to the acorn at the other side. To do this they will stack code blocks together in a linear sequence.

Purpose

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.

Agenda

Warm Up (10 min)

Bridging Activity - Drag and Drop (10 - 15 min)

Main Activity (20 - 30 min)

Wrap Up (5 - 10 min)

Extension Activities

View on Code Studio

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Model proper computer lab behaviors
  • Experiment with standard block-based programming actions such as: clicking, drag and drop, etc.

Preparation

  • Cut out direction blocks from Unplugged Blockly Blocks (Grades K-1) - Manipulatives to use with the Happy Maps bridging activity.
  • Make sure each student has a journal.

Links

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

For the Students

Vocabulary

  • Click - Press the mouse button
  • Double-Click - Press the mouse button very quickly
  • Drag - Click your mouse button and hold as you move the mouse pointer to a new location
  • Drop - Release your mouse button to "let go" of an item that you are dragging

Support

Report a Bug

Teaching Guide

Warm Up (10 min)

Behaving in the Computer Lab

Review expectations and how to behave when they enter the computer lab.

Some possible things to cover:

  • Use calm bodies in the lab
  • Remember not to chew gum or candy
  • Sanitize your hands
  • Sit with your partner at one computer
  • Make sure that the first "driver" can reach the mouse
  • When you get frustrated, don't hit or shake the computer or monitor
  • Follow the 20/20/20 - Website rule
  • How to deal with the Wiggles every 20-30 minutes (requires a free login on GoNoodle)
  • Ask your partner before you ask the teacher
  • Keep volume down so everyone else can hear their partners
  • Use your journal for keeping track of feelings and solutions

Discuss:

Have a good discussion around your computer lab expectations to make sure that students understand the rules. Some topics of discussion might include:

  • Is running in the computer lab okay?
  • How loudly should we walk when we are in the computer lab?
  • What should you do if you get stuck on a puzzle?
  • If you get frustrated, will it help to hit the computer?
  • When we're about to go to the computer lab, how should we get ready?

Bridging Activity - Drag and Drop (10 - 15 min)

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

Choose one of the following to do with your class:

Dragging and Dropping Algorithms

Project one of the maps from the "Happy Maps" activity and display it for the students to see. On a projector or in front of the class, put some direction blocks from the Unplugged Blockly Blocks (Grades K-1) - Manipulatives in random order and practice "dragging and dropping" by pressing your finger on one of the paper pieces and moving it across the screen. Explain that you can "click" to select this block by tapping your finger on it, or you can "drag" the block by pressing your finger on it and moving it. To "drop" the block, release your finger.

After showing this to the class, ask for volunteers to create an algorithm for the Happy Map by "dragging and dropping" the necessary blocks.

Previewing Online Puzzles as a Class

Project a puzzle from the lesson. Show the class how to click on a block and place it in the correct spot by dragging and dropping. Purposely make mistakes such as clicking the background or dropping the image before it's at the right spot. Ask for help from volunteers in the class when you run into these problems, and help them use the skills that they developed in the last unplugged lesson to make things right.

Main Activity (20 - 30 min)

Online Puzzles

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

This will teach students how to use Code.org to complete online puzzles.

Watch the Pair Programming - Student Video with your students, then assign them to pairs. This should help students start off in the right direction.

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 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.

Wrap Up (5 - 10 min)

Journaling

Give the students a journal prompt to help them process some of the things that they encountered during the day.

Journal Prompts:

  • Can you draw a sequence for getting ready to go to the computer lab?
  • Draw a computer lab "Do" and a "Don't"
  • Draw one of the Feeling Faces - Emotion Images that shows how you felt about today's lesson in the corner of your journal page.

Extension Activities

If students complete the puzzles from this lesson early, have them spend some time trying to come up with their own puzzles in their Think Spot Journal - Reflection Journal.

  • Maze Intro: Programming with Blocks
  • 1
  • (click tabs to see student view)
View on Code Studio

Student Instructions

To get Scrat to the acorn, snap the move East block to the bottom of the when run block, then press "▶ Run"!

View on Code Studio

Student Instructions

Snap both move east blocks to the bottom of the when run block to finish your code, then click "▶ Run".

View on Code Studio

Student Instructions

Grab a move north block from the toolbox and add it to the bottom of the other blocks to finish this code, then click "▶ Run".

View on Code Studio

Student Instructions

There's an extra block at the end of this code!

Drag it back to the toolbox to throw it away.

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Student Instructions

Can you figure out which block you need to add to the bottom of the other blocks to finish this code?

View on Code Studio

Student Instructions

Try this one all by yourself!

Standards Alignment

View full course alignment

CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards (2017)

AP - Algorithms & Programming
  • 1A-AP-11 - Decompose (break down) the steps needed to solve a problem into a precise sequence of instructions.