Do the Robot

Grade All Grades • 20 minutes

Created by Melissa Sariffodeen on 10/6/16


A basic "unplugged" challenge to get students thinking about simple instructions and sequences, or in coding terms, creating algorithms.

Prep Work

Sample activities for the pairs to complete i.e. tying a shoe, opening a door, doing the macarena 

The Lesson



An algorithm is a term for a step-by-step list of instructions that a computer will follow. You can think of it as a plan.


A sequence is a set of instructions that are repeated one after the other.

The Lesson

In groups of two, assign one learner to be the programmer and one to be the robot. Assign each pair an activity like tying a shoe or opening a door.

These activities could be pulled from a hat, assigned, or chosen by the students

Ask the programmer to explain to their partner (the robot) how to perform the steps needed to complete their activity using words only!

Switch pairs

After the activity, use this as an opportunity to talk about the importance of simple, clear instructions and sequences.


Congratulate learners for creating their first algorithms!

Have students perform their coding sequence in front of the class.

Which was harder being the programmer or the robot?

Have the class guess what the pair may have missed as they were explaining the steps.

Choose some code to review as a group - do students recognize any patterns?

Any ways they could simplify their algorithms?

Suggested Lessons

Intended Province:


  • Subjects:
  • Math

Key Curriculum Concepts

    • Time
      • Duration
      • Sequencing

Key Coding Concepts

  • Creating basic coding commands
  • Sequences 
  • Algorithms