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Once Upon a Code

By Jen Perry 2-3 classes (45 minutes each)
Grades 1-3
English Language Arts,
Science and Technology,
  • Programming
  • Data
  • Technology and Society
Tools & Languages
Scratch Jr.

Key Coding Concepts

  • Algorithms
  • Debugging
  • Sequences



A step-by-step set of operations to be performed to help solve a problem.



Finding problems in code and solving them.



Identifying a series of steps necessary to complete a task; computers read and perform tasks in order from top to bottom.

Learners will create a ScratchJr retelling one of their favourite fairy tales.


  • Learners should have had previous opportunities to read and retell their favourite fairy tales (through writing opportunities, and oral/drama experiences)
  • Learners and educators should be familiar with the Scratch Jr coding program. A great pre-project resource from ScratchJr is ‘Can I Make a Spooky Forest?’


  • Device with ScratchJr installed

Before the lesson...

Note: Depending on device availability, have learners work independently or in pairs to retell their favourite fairy tale using a graphic organizer.

  1. Review learners’ completed graphic organizer to be sure it includes all relevant parts.

  2. Review ScratchJr story checklist and assessment rubric with learners (or develop your own as a class). Emphasize the coding concept of ‘sequence’. Tell learners they are using a sequence to create their own program.

  3. Hand out the checklist/assignment and have learners check-off tasks as they complete them.

  4. Upon project completion, have learners email their completed projects to their educator, and provide opportunities to share. Discuss aspects of the project they enjoyed, disliked, coding concepts they discovered, etc.

See Checklist/Assessment.

Additional rubrics that could be used or modified:


Provide learners who need additional support with a fairy tale story outline.

Coding and English

  • Early finishers can add dialogue to have their characters talk (See ‘ScratchJr. Can I Make My Characters Talk?’)
  • Learners can remix another fairy tale by changing the characters, setting, or altering some of the events of the story.
  • Learners could also use their fairy tale characters to make a game (See this activity for some inspiration)


  • Learners can share their story creations with other classmates or younger students.
  • Use this as an opportunity to explain/recall elements of a story (beginning, middle, end and the moral of stories).

Math & Data

  • Learners could analyze their code and make a bar graph showing which coding blocks they used the most. Discussion: Which coding blocks were used the most? Why do you think that?

    The educator could guide this lesson and create a Google Sheet & graph after learners have collected their data. Here is a template that can be used. Make a copy and add the number of blocks used. Then insert a bar graph.

English & Technology & Society (History of Technology)

  • Learners could research underrepresented people in the tech sector and create a bio story about them.

Teach lessons that are tied to your existing curriculum!


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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.