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Early Stage 1 activities

In Early Stage 1, computational thinking is introduced through problem-solving, recognising patterns and sequences, and designing procedures that lead students to abstract thought such as categorisation. Coding is introduced through simple programming games such as Lightbot and ScratchJr.


Students could:

  • as a class, write a detailed procedure to do a simple task, eg put your bag on your back
  • work in pairs, taking turns to give each other instructions to duplicate a pattern
  • use ScratchJr to create a narrative
  • write a procedure to document how to lay out flash cards or sounds in a grid
  • program a Bee-Bot to move from one sight word to another
  • use Dash & Dot to program a sequence of actions
  • instruct a friend to move a counter from one sound to another and document the procedure using arrows or simple directions – watch the Thinkersmith activity My Robotic Friends on YouTube for an example of programming without a computer
  • use a Lightbot game to discuss the importance of following a sequence of instructions.


Students could:

  • complete a pattern using beads, blocks or Lego
  • create a pattern using beads, blocks or Lego
  • using only words, instruct a friend to create a replica of a pattern
  • investigate and create surveys, then graph the results using pictures or blocks:
    • data: create and complete a survey related to a unit of work, eg survey cars in the car park or driving past the school; pets owned by students; eye colour; birthday months; favourite foods; weather patterns, including data on temperature and rainfall
    • investigate the concept of length by creating a method of measuring the height of each other using items in the classroom, eg newspaper, string, streamers
    • investigate volume by measuring containers of varying height and diameter, then compare the volume of water in each
  • construct a 3D model of a square or rectangle using blocks or MinecraftEdu
  • play computer games that include data handling and graphing – see Resources for a range of websites with free games for schools
  • investigate position and directions using a programming tool such as ScratchJr
  • investigate floating and sinking:
    • read Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen and use online lesson plans available at sites such as Scholastic Australia and Math at Home (US)
    • design and make boats to support the most weight
  • use a programming game to discuss distances and direction
  • study global area and size using Google Earth or Google Maps satellite imagery
  • use the Frozen programming game to discuss distances and direction
  • learn to manipulate and interpret data in different forms through online games such as data handling games.

Science and Technology

Students could:

  • design and construct a model of a past or present toy
  • use recycled materials to construct a boat that will float (integrates Creative Arts with Mathematics and with Science and Technology) – the Makedo website shows projects using recycled materials
  • design an experiment to explore and test smell and taste, eg as shown in the YouTube clip The Smell-Tasting Experiment
  • predict what will happen, based on previous experience, when the teacher programs physical robots such as Bee-Bots and Dash & Dot
  • chart information using observations of the world around them:
    • collect leaves from the playground and paste them in rows to compare numbers of each type, then create bar graphs of types of leaves
  • problem-solve a basic Bee-Bots or Dash & Dot robot treasure map, then discuss problem-solving techniques they can use differently next time
  • design and build robotic adventures with KIBO
  • design and construct logic circuits with littleBits.

Creative Arts

Students could:

  • create, complete or duplicate pixel art using grid paper or online tools such as Make Pixel Art or with coloured paper squares or coloured Centicubes to explain pixel data on onscreen images
  • use recycled materials to construct a boat that will float (integrates Creative Arts with Mathematics and with Science and Technology) – the Makedo website shows projects using recycled materials
  • create instruments using different materials with a MaKey MaKey kit – sites such as Make have a range of project ideas.

Physical Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)

Students could:

  • design a new outdoor game, including rules, equipment, scoring and boundaries
  • collect data on the contents of lunchboxes and graph results, eg how much fruit, how much processed food
  • collect data on the size of families and graph the results, then present the results as a column or picture graph
  • devise a method to compare heights using informal measurements – discuss how accurate the results are and which would be the most reliable method by, for example, comparing the size of different feet and their use as a standard measurement.

Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)


Students could:

  • devise a method to sequence a series of familiar events – such as activities in a day – using a timeline
  • create stories with StoryBuddy 2 or videos with Educreations by drawing pictures in order, writing simple words, and taking photos or videos, then inserting them into the software
  • create timelines online with Dipity or Tiki-Toki
  • present a range of pictures or real toys from the past and present, classify the images into groups, and compare similarities and differences
  • construct a model of a past or present toy using recycled materials – this may include discussion on the materials toys are made of, moving parts, how toys without batteries move, how springs work, gravity and weight (integrates HSIE with Mathematics and with Science and Technology).


Students could:

  • plan a walking course around the school using a mud map, then illustrate the plan pictorially on a map of the school
  • use recycled materials to construct a place for someone to live in
  • collect data and create picture or column graphs to represent data collected, eg where people live
  • use objects such as Bee-Bots to plan trips or treasure hunts on a world map
  • create a map or tour with Google Earth or Google Maps.

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