Last week, year 5 wrote algorithms for their teacher, Robot Mikkelsen, to make a jam sandwich. This was based on an idea from Phil Bagge (thank you, Phil). They first discussed the sort of vocabulary they might use, then wrote their algorithms. Robot Mikkelsen only understands very clear instructions and follows instructions very literally, as you will see in the video below.
This is a very edited video, the lesson was over an hour long, and so you are in essence watching the outtakes! What I learned watching all the videos is:
- Year 5 children are very supportive of each other, listen carefully and work collaboratively to help each other. You can hear the children praising each other’s instructions quietly.
- The children persevered at getting their algorithms to work – they didn’t give up when they tested them and they went (messily) wrong – they debugged their instructions with resilience until Robot Mikkelsen understood them. If you listen carefully you can hear the children whispering excitedly, “It’s working”, “It’s going to work”.
- I was so pleased to hear them developing instructions such as “Repeat…Until”. Repeats, and controls such as “until”, are really, really good computing vocabulary that in this case seemed to come naturally.
- Mrs Mikkelsen makes a very good robot, I think an Oscar may be beckoning! What the children may not know is the injury she suffered as a result of following unclear instructions with a knife and slippery butter!
Thank you, Year 5 and Miss Mikkelsen, for doing this activity and sharing it with us. Let’s see how your instructions improve over the term. We will update the blog with your progress!