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Speaking Code: What is Coding?
Lesson 1 (of 7)

By Jen Perry 45 minutes
Grades 4-6
English Language Arts,
Science and Technology,
  • Programming
  • Technology and Society
Tools & Languages

Key Coding Concepts

  • Algorithms
  • Conditional Statements
  • Debugging
  • Events
  • Loops
  • 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



Running the same sequence multiple times



Making connections based on conditions (ie. if it is raining, then open your umbrella)



When one thing causes another thing to happen



Finding problems in code and solving them

This is the first of seven lessons.

Learners will begin to learn various coding concepts, including algorithms, sequences, loops, conditionals, events and debugging, through Flocabulary videos and interactive coding activities. These activities can be taught as directed whole-class lessons, as a Coding Club, or as individual self-directed modules.

Each of the five concepts includes an unplugged activity to further learners’ understanding of coding concepts/language. As a final assessment, learners will create their own video game.


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 them. There is an option to see the solution for each activity.


  • Books about coding

Ask learners what they know about coding.

Create a KWL (Know, What you Want to Know, & What you Learned) about coding. This chart can be completed as a whole class or in small groups.

What is coding?

Flocabulary - What is Coding?

Coding is a language based on logical thinking.

Before you learn to code, you need to learn the language.

Here are some key concepts we will be learning:

  • Sequence/Algorithm
  • Loops
  • Conditionals
  • Events
  • Debugging

Provide learners with an opportunity to explore coding through Hour of Code activities.

Also, allow learners the opportunity to explore coding books.

Formatively assess KWL Chart. Make note of specific questions or topics that learners want to learn.


Learners who are struggling with completing the activities can be paired with a stronger learner. The educator can also work with a small group of learners who may need additional support.



  • Journal writing prompt or class discussion: Should kids be taught how to code at school? Why or why not?
  • Create a venn diagram comparing learning to code vs. learning a world language. Ditch that Textbook has a Google Draw Venn Diagram template.
  • For this lesson series, learners could use a digital or regular journal to include the coding vocabulary taught.

Technology & Society (History of Technology)

Flocabulary Coding Concept Videos Unplugged Curriculum

Google Doc: Learning Coding Concepts (Independent Study)

11 Best Coding Toys for Kids (Gear Hungry, 2018)

The Best Coding Books for Kids of All Ages (Coder Kids, 2020)

Ada Lovelace Cracks the Code (By Rebel Girls)

Inspiring the Next Generation of African American Coders (By CodeNinjas)

Assessment Rubric:
ScratchEd (Karen Randall, Natalie Rusk)

Google Draw Venn Diagram template (Ditch that Textbook)

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.