Computer programs are all around us, not just in the things we call computers, but in things like fitness devices, smartphones and alarm systems, and in many many more places. Sometimes these programs are referred to as "applications", "apps" or "software", and often they are nearly invisible, in devices like TVs and washing machines, where the software "boots up" when you switch it on, and keeps going until you switch it off. Despite the variety of ways that computer programs are used, they all work on similar principles that are accessible to students of all ages, and this unit explores some of the fundamental principles in programming.

What's it all about?

See teaching this in action

An example of teaching this can be viewed at 1:09:56 in this video.

Cartoon kids working together

Writing a computer program involves planning what you're going to do, "coding" the instructions, testing them, tracking down any bugs, and changing the program to that it works correctly. In these activities students explore a simple programming language by taking on separate roles to make these elements of programming explicit.

This isn't completely artificial; most substantial program is written by a team of people, and often the roles of design, coding and testing are separated out. The program is made because there is a problem to solve to help other people to improve their lives. The people who write the program using a programming language are called the programmer (or possibly a developer or software engineer) - they write the instructions to tell the computer what to do. To be …

Includes links to computational thinking


Ages 5 to 7 Programming challenges
In the teacher observations sections there may also be background notes on the big picture. There is no expectation that 5 to 7 year olds will need to know this, but if you are asked, you have the answer at your fingertips.
1 Rescue Mission No
2 Fitness unplugged No
Ages 8 to 10 Programming challenges
1 Sending a rocket to Mars Yes
3 The Modulo operator Unplugged Yes

Curriculum Integrations

Activity Curriculum Areas Prerequisite Lessons?
Storytelling Literacy: Speaking Yes
Move to a number Mathematics: Numeracy Yes
Finding shapes Mathematics: Geometry Yes
Moving in a shape Mathematics: Geometry Yes