ALEX Learning Activity


Algorithms and Sequencing

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Stephanie Roden
System:Hartselle City
School:Crestline Elementary School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1911
Algorithms and Sequencing
Digital Tool/Resource:
Web Address – URL:

In this learning activity, students will participate in a partner guided “obstacle course” to simulate computer programming. Next, students will discuss how a common activity (making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) requires steps and how the steps can be written as an algorithm. Next, students will take the steps and put them in paragraph form using transition words in relation to sequencing. Last, students will complete a lesson on that requires them to write an algorithm.

This activity was created as a result of the DLCS COS Resource Development Summit. 

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 2
23 ) Write informative or explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section. [W.2.2]

Digital Literacy and Computer Science
DLIT (2018)
Grade: 2
2) Create an algorithm for other learners to follow.

Examples: Unplugged coding activities, illustrate sequence of a process such as baking a cake.

Insight Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • will develop a sequence of events related to a task that others can follow.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • sequence
Students know:
  • the sequence of events for a tasks are important.
  • sequence of events may be read and interpreted by other people or machines.
Students are able to:
  • develop a sequence of events for a task that others can follow.
Students understand that:
  • a task can be broken down into a sequence of smaller events or steps.
Learning Objectives:

The students will write at least one algorithm on

The students will create one algorithm for other learners to follow on

The students will write an explanatory paragraph that shows sequencing through developed points that connect further explain the algorithm process.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

1. Write the word "Algorithm" on the board. Tell the students that an algorithm is a list of steps that you follow to complete a task. 

2. Ask the class for volunteers. Choose two students. Put one student at one end of the room, the other student at another end of the room, and place a few obstacles (trash can, chair, etc.) in between them.

3. Blindfold one student (the computer) and tell the other student that he/she is the programmer. The programmer must give the computer a list of steps to follow (write an algorithm) to reach the programmer. As the programmer gives instructions, the computer must follow them exactly. If the programmer isn't precise, then the computer has a bug and must restart. 

4. After the computer has reached the programmer, have the students sit down. The teacher should write the list of steps that the computer completed. Explain that those steps are an algorithm. The computer could not think on its own. It had to complete the algorithm, and if there was a wrong step, the computer had a bug. That step needed to be removed and replaced with the correct step for the computer to complete the task.

5. Tell the students that we are going to think about a common activity that requires a list of steps to complete. Ask students how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

6. Have students raise their hands as they give the explicit steps to complete how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Write the steps on the board by numbering them. Make sure they include every detail such as "pick up the knife", etc.

7. Next, share with the students that an algorithm, a list of steps, is like sequencing in our writing and reading. There are transition words that help a writer such as next, last, furthermore, after, etc. 

8. Model for students how to write a paragraph using the sentences from the algorithm and the transition words to create a paragraph that explains how to create a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Include a topic sentence and a concluding sentence. 

9. Have the students write the paragraph along with you to record in their writers' notebook as an example of a sequencing paragraph/algorithm.

10. Tell the students they are now going to create algorithms on the computer. Remind students that an algorithm is a list of steps that you follow to complete a task. In this lesson, students will create a list of steps on that an angry bird must take to reach a green pig. 

11. Students will write at least one algorithm on or as many as time allows. 

Assessment Strategies:

At the conclusion of the activity, the teacher can check for the students' understanding of the stated learning objectives by:

1. asking students to define and give an example of an algorithm.

2. having students write a paragraph in as a whole group, focusing on sequencing events.

3. having students create an algorithm in

Advanced Preparation:

Enroll students in Course C of

Print out the picture password cards and show students their passwords prior to the lesson. Show students how to log in to the site prior to the lesson.

Have enough Chromebooks available for each student with a link to's specific URL attached to the class that the teacher enrolled bookmarked for easy access for students. 


Variation Tips (optional):

This activity may be split into two lessons as time demands. 

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
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