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Speaking Code: Algorithms
Lesson 2 (of 7)

By Jen Perry 60 minutes
Grades 4-6
English Language Arts,
Science and Technology,
  • Programming
  • Technology and Society
Tools & Languages

Key Coding Concepts

  • Algorithms
  • Sequences



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



Identifying a series of steps necessary to complete a task

This is the second of seven lessons.

Learners will focus on learning the coding concepts ‘algorithms’ and ‘sequences’. This lesson includes a computer activity and an unplugged activity. Educators can do both activities or choose one of the activities.


The educator should have some knowledge of coding concepts and experience with Scratch. Completing the individual activities ahead of time would be helpful as you may have to model how to complete activities. There is an option to see the solution for each activity.


Ask: What is a sequence/algorithm?

Play ‘Flocabulary - Coding Algorithms’.
Note: Only 40 seconds of this video shows. Educators can sign up for a free trial of Flocabulary to watch the rest.

Plugged-in Activity

45 minutes

Complete this activity.

Learners can work independently or in pairs (this helps with problem-solving!) to complete the activity tasks. The educator could model the tasks by displaying the activity on a Smart TV. Review how to delete blocks (click delete) and interchange left and right. Have learners click on ‘show code’ button to see the actual code that computer programmers use.

Unplugged Activity

15-20 minutes

Ask learners to try and write a sequence/algorithm for getting ready for school, how to make a sandwich or how to shoot a basketball, etc. Have them compare answers with a classmate. As an extension, have one partner be the coder and the other be the program. On paper, the coder will develop a program on how to make a sandwich. The coder will tell the program what to do one task at a time. For example:

Coder - “Step 1: Open the cupboard.”
Program - pretends to open the cupboard
Coder - “Step 2: “Get the bread.”
Program - pretends to get the bread

Online activities include a multiple choice and matching assessment that learners must answer before completing the activity level.

Make anecdotal notes of learners who are struggling to complete tasks. Also, make notes of learners who are completing tasks quickly and/or supporting their peers.

For unplugged activity, assess algorithm steps.



  • Learners can write another algorithm in their journal (see unplugged activity in lesson)
  • For this lesson series, learners could use a digital or regular journal to include the coding vocabulary taught.

Math & Science

  • Make connections to algorithms and steps in a math equation and/or recent science experiments done in class.

Data (AI & Machine Learning)

What is a Sequence/Algorithm? (Flocabulary)

Hour of Code Activity Real-Life Algorithms: Paper Planes Unplugged Activities Artist Sequence

What is Machine Learning? by OxfordSparks

How Machines Learn by CGP Grey

Machine Learning for Kids

Teach lessons that are tied to your existing curriculum!


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    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 ➝


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