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Section Title Primary information Description and Notes Suggested resources
Lesson Length The expected lesson length will be approximately one hour

Some variation possible.

Assessment Level 1

Students The lesson is suitable for KS3 and KS4 students Since this is a new specification, the lesson is suitable for Year 7 to 9 students and differentiated by outcome  
Overall Focus The lesson focus, as part of a series, will be introducing how abstraction is used, via instructions, to computers. This lesson will begin to introduce the students to computer programs that use some of the principles and words they have so far learned and explored.

Lesson Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Key words abstraction, programming language, instruction, open source, digital, file types, variable These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  

Use data patterns to represent physical objects

Follow instructions to develop a software abstraction

Evidence for this assessment can be derived from work based on different software programs.  It could be a simple shape in Logo or more complex objects in Blockly.  More advanced students could use Python logo or similar.  
Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics There are some potentially difficult ideas here, but it should be possible to gently build on their understanding through clear worked examples Have you used any programs in primary to make computers do things?  Can you give an example of good instructions?  Can anyone write instructions to make shapes?
Learning Objectives
  • To understand the key aspects of instructions and be able to give examples of how and where they are used
  • To describe and explain, with examples, how instructions can be formed to create objects
  • To understand how parts of instructions can be changed to make different results

Students may already have been introduced to Scratch or Logo.  It doesn't hurt to re-introduce these to make sure they understand what underpins their operation.  You can introduce new aspects such as Blockly to be fresh.

The main learning objective is for them to appreciate how important instructions are, that computers are not very "clever".

If you are using the Learning Machine learning system, students can add their comments and material to this site as evidence of their growing understanding.  The site, if used consistently, will show progression via charts of activity and outcomes.
Teaching and Learning Elements
  • Introduction to some examples of basic programming software.  Choose the ones you are comfortable with
  • A teacher led demonstration of using a visual programing software to create a shape
  • Students can break into groups and work on their own examples of shapes
  • Class discussion and evaluation of the wider uses of instructions
  • Summarize the key points and reinforce the importance of instructions

In this lesson we need to get students to start thinking about and applying their knowledge of abstraction.  They should be able to use something like Blockly to give the software "abstract" instructions to get concrete results, i.e. completing a Maze Level on Blockly Maze.

Work through the class as a whole to show some basic elements of instructions and show their results.  You can use examples from the programs that you will want them to use in the next few lessons, be this Blockly or Scratch etc.  All do more or less the same thing.

Show students the software they will be using and ask some basic questions about the look and feel of the software.

Show students some of the key features of instructions, and if possible, any consequences if they get these wrong.  You could use a flow-chart to show the impact of yes/no answers on the flow.  This will reinforce how a program works.  Give the students some practice to make sure they can interpret one properly.

The main focus of the lesson here should be to play with aspects of instructions to reinforce how powerful it is.  How simple instructions can do complex things.

Assuming they have a good understanding, they can work in groups and then share their findings.

Lesson Structure Possible timings
  1. introduce the topic focus.  It will be the next several lessons etc
  2. show students some examples of visual programming tools
  3. group work to work on some of their own possible designs.  Share good examples as the lesson progresses to reinforce instructions and accuracy.
  4. discuss what they have learned and what they can apply
  5. volunteers to share their work and explain how instructions work
  6. highlight next week's focus and issue homework

It would be useful before hand to have some of these programs added to your network or check that they are accessible and work on your network (i.e. some need java and may not work because of strict network security)

In the previous activities students used abstract shapes to build other things, here the focus is on using numbers and words to instruct computers to make shapes.  This about instructions you see every day, for example the traffic lights.

Try to spend as much time as possible to show them the important elements of instructions and even show what bad instructions do as this will be useful for discussions later

You can make a small competition in the groups to see who can make the best shape in Turtle Academy logo

If you introduce the students to Blockly Maze you can then set a homework later for them to see how many levels they can complete.

Homework Work on one of the programs shown, i.e. Blockly Maze and see how far you can get through. Students can vary their homework depending on their level of understanding and degree of comfort with the software they have seen Get students to document their experience on their portfolio system for assessment


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