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Bugs in our Sequence

By Ericka Sutherland 30 minutes
Grades 1-3
English Language Arts,
  • Programming
  • Technology and Society
Tools & Languages

Key Coding Concepts

  • Debugging
  • Sequences



Identifying a series of steps necessary to complete a task



Finding problems in code and solving them

One partner will create a pattern sequence using manipulatives, the other partner must find the ‘bug’ in their sequence and ‘fix’ it.


  • Students must have experience creating a variety of patterns AB/ABC/ABC, etc.


  • Provide an assortment of objects that may be patterned

Introduce students to the coding concept of debugging. Tell them that computer programmers often run into problems when they are working on a program. Show students videos explaining debugging:

(BBC Learning) What are Computer Bugs?

( Debugging

(Kid Tech Nation) Teaching Coding to Kids

For older students (Grades 2-3:
(CSEdWeek) Debugging with ScratchJr

Tell students that they are going to work in partners to debug patterns.

One student creates a developmentally appropriate pattern using manipulatives (pattern blocks, magnetic letters, buttons, etc.) ensuring to include a “bug” that requires fixing. Once the pattern is complete, the other student inspects the pattern looking for the “bug” in the sequence, once found, they must fix the “bug”.

Success Criterial

I can identify the core of a pattern.
I can identify the changing attribute.
I can identify the rule of a pattern.
I can "debug" areas of my pattern that do not follow the rule.

Assessment Tools

  1. Use a rubric designed to meet the curricular needs of your students. This is an example from Good Spirit School Division.
  2. Student interviews: What was the bug and how did you fix it? Was there another way?
  3. Ask your learners to explain their debugging decisions using an ‘If __, then __’ statement. Tell them this type of statement is how computers make decisions about what steps to take next.


Check out this relay activity to test your debugging skills.

Note: This activity could be modified for younger students.


  • Journal prompt/draw a picture: How do you feel when you make a mistake?
  • Literacy connection: Check out the ‘Content Corner’ in’s Relay Programming lesson and read Stevie and the Big Project. Also review Tips to Deal with Frustrations & Tips to Deal with Persistence.


Students can come up with ‘bug of the day’ patterns for the class to solve.

Technology & Society (History of Technology)

Explore key figures who overcome challenges (for example, Ada Lovelace).

What are Computer Bugs (BBC Learning)

Debugging Video (Code.Org)

Kid Tech Nation

Debugging with ScratchJr. (CSEdWeek)

Mathematics Grade 3 Patterns Rubric (Good Spirit School Division) - Relay Programming Lesson

Teach lessons that are tied to your existing curriculum!


More Lesson Plans For Grades 1-3

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    The K-12 Computer Science Framework

    Although learning how to build digital projects is a key part of Computer Science education, students should also learn a wider set of skills and competencies that will help them to harness the power of digital technologies as both creators and consumers. A comprehensive approach to K-12 Computer Science education includes learning about the following five focus areas:

    View Framework ➝


    By the end of high school, students should be able to create a simple computer program.

    Computing and Networks

    By the end of high school, students should understand and be able to use the tools and devices commonly used to build digital projects.


    By the end of high school, students should be able to explain how we use computers to create, store, organize, and analyze data.

    Technology and Society

    By the end of high school, students should be able to explore the ways in which technology and society have mutually shaped each other.


    By the end of high school, students should be able to apply design principles to the digital projects they create.