Lesson plan

What Is Code?

What is code? In this lesson you'll introduce students to the concept of code (a system of symbols used for communication) using both physical and virtual experiences.
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Students will create a sequence of commands (called code) that will cause an animated figure named Daisy to move.

(10 minutes)
  • Use the game "Simon Says" to introduce students to the concepts of commands, code, and coding.
  • After playing the game for a short period of time, explain to the students that you’re going to change the name “Simon” to “Coder.” A coder is someone who creates commands for a computer to follow. The leader of the game is now the Coder and the players are computers who are following the commands of the coder. Continue playing the game as coders and computers for several rounds.
  • Give students time to ask questions to request more information about the game or the topic of coding in general.
(5 minutes)
  • Divide students into pairs. Pass out the iPads, one per each pair of students.
  • Invite students to find and open the Daisy the Dinosaur app.
  • Explain to the students that they are going to create code that will make Daisy the Dinosaur move.
(5 minutes)
  • Demonstrate how to begin using the "Challenge Mode" tutorial.
  • Explain that students will need to use the "drag and drop" interface to move command blocks from the command menu to the workspace.
  • Encourage students to experiment and make mistakes! This tutorial is just for fun.
  • Allow students to ask clarifying questions about how to use the app to get a better understanding of how to use the program:
    • "Can you give me more details about ____?"
    • "Can you remind me how to...?"
    • "How do I...?"
  • Encourage students to answer one another's questions before seeking help from the teacher.
(20 minutes)
  • Invite the pairs of students to take turns using the app until both students have completed the "Challenge Mode" tutorial.
  • Students should pay attention to what their partners are doing in the app. Enourage them to ask and answer questions to clarify how to perform certain actions.
  • If they need to re-start the tutorial, simply close and re-open the app.
  • If your students have not shared a device before, they will need some ground rules for how to take turns. Review group work expectations and how to have peer discussions in a respectful manner.


  • For students with more advanced maths skills, challenge them to measure their prototypes and record their data.


  • For students who are not yet able to read the text on the command blocks, invite them to help you create a visual key. For example, for the word "move" ask them to draw a person or a dinosaur moving. Post the key where everyone can see it.
  • For struggling students, coach them to use the prompts and icons for guidance and context clues. Reassure them that it's ok to just try touching and moving different commands blocks.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate the room and observe each pair of students working together. Listen for students asking one another clarifying questions, and answering the questions themselves as they are able.
  • Measure student success by whether or not each student is able to complete the brief tutorial.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to reflect on their coding experience.
  • Have partners participate in a discussion about the following questions: "What was fun about this activity? What was challenging?"
  • Invite peer to peer feedback by asking: “How did your partner help you learn?"

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