Introduction to Coding through Robotics (ft. Wonder Workshop)

Programming concept covered:

Communication, Systems, Sequence, Algorithms, Robotics

Time: 60 minutes

Lesson Materials

  • iPad
  • Kodable: Sequence Sector 1.1
  • Wonder Workshop:
    Dash the Robot
    Path app (free)
  • Kodable graphic organizer
  • Path graphic organizer
  • “I can” performance task
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  1. Students will be able to write commands in order to:
  • solve problems using algorithms.
  • direct/instruct a machine to carry out a task.
  • communicate: person to machine, machine to machine

Direct Instruction (I do)


Engage students: open the lesson by having students seated where everyone can see. Begin using the Wonder Workshop Path app to move Dash the robot around the room.  

“Today, we are going to learn how we can communicate with technology to solve a problem or complete a task. Our objective is to write commands that will instruct Dash the robot to move and follow a path we will create for him. This will teach us how to communicate with technology to be able to carry out complicated, multi-step tasks in a simple way.

This week is special- the Hour of Code! Students all around the world are focusing on computer science and what computer programming is. We all use technology daily and it’s important to understand the role people play behind machines and how we can use technology to improve our lives and the world.”

“Today, I’m going to show you how we can use code to communicate with robots and instruct them to do what you want them to.  We will start by thinking about what humans can do, what machines can do, and how humans can communicate with machines to carry out tasks.

You will practice writing commands, instructing a robot, and controlling Dash the Robot through your iPad! At the end of our lesson, you’ll reflect on what you and technology can do alone and together.”

Introduction to New Material

“People are smarter than computers. Without instructions from people, computers can’t do anything! We use a language that the computer understands, called code, to tell a computer what to do. The people who write this code are called programmers, and programmers give computers instructions in steps, in the exact order they need to be done, for a computer to complete a task.

In programming, this allows us to simplify complicated tasks with a lot of steps, often into one action. We use something called an algorithm, a set of ordered steps (sequence) to solve a problem or do something.” 

“Let’s start by thinking about things people can do. I’m a person and I can ___ (jump, walk, talk, etc.).” Model this.  

“What’s something you can do?” Call up 3 student volunteers. Student: “I can____ (spin, sit down, high-five a friend, etc.)”

 “Can our robot____ (from above)?” Yes/No.

“What’s something you can do that our robot, your iPad, or computer cannot do?” Call on volunteers to share answers.

Think, Pair, Share

“Think about 1 thing you can do that your device cannot. Turn and tell your partner next to you.”

“We can use technology to instruct a machine to do all of these things- we have to communicate

with them using code.”

Show an example of using the commands in Kodable (Smeeborg: Sequence Sector 1.1) to move the fuzz through the maze.
“I use the arrow commands to tell the fuzz how to get to the end of the maze.”

 Guided Practice

“We are going to practice using arrow commands like I just showed you to write a program that would tell the fuzz how to get through the maze.”

Hand out the maze graphic organizer and have students practice writing commands to direct the fuzz.

“Everyone hold up the code you wrote for your maze. Does anyone want to volunteer to show their code to the class and we can all “run” the program you wrote together?” 

As a class, read the commands and have the student volunteer follow the maze with their finger.

Independent Practice

Students will use the Path graphic organizer to write a code that they will use to instruct Dash through the Path app on their iPad.

“You will be creating your own code using commands to communicate with Dash through your iPad! You are going to tell Dash exactly what steps you want him to follow, in order, to follow a path that you decide.” 

Model writing a code with arrows and instructing Dash with the Path app. 

Review your classroom behavior expectations and procedures for working with iPads, robots, group work (if sharing devices/robots), etc. 

“You are going to start by writing the code for Dash. Once you have a complete program written, you can use your iPad to direct Dash! Using your code, draw the path for Dash to follow and run your program!

Once students write their code they can run their programs! Have students repeat by writing new codes and running different programs for Dash as time allows.

Closing: Performance Task

“We learned that we can use commands to write a code that will tell our robot what to do. By doing this, we can instruct machines and eventually use technology to carry out complex tasks for us! Reflecting on today’s lesson, you’re going to complete this closing activity and show what you learned.”

Students will complete the “’I can’ statement” performance task. Collect this and assess student understanding and mastery.

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