Unplugged Activity: Everyday Tasks

Have students think of a task and then, on a sheet of paper, have them describe the repeated steps that comprise this task.

For example, one student might write down these steps:

  1. Pull your __ from your pocket.
  2. Press the power button on your __.
  3. Unlock it.
  4. Get onto the internet.

After everyone has their steps written out, have the students exchange steps. After students have exchanged their steps, someone might correctly guess that the repeated action just described is someone using their cell phone.

Is this a repeated action? If so, it would be good to use a loop for this if it were in code. You might even draw a picture of a loop block and write the name of an example task in the middle to get students to bridge the connection to coding.

If you put these steps in the loop in the picture, how many times would you repeat the steps?

using your cellphone

“Hey, you are supposed to be studying, not playing on your phone!”

Teacher Note

Depending on the age of your students and the time available, you might want to:

  • Provide students with tasks upfront, rather than having them come up with their own. This can help you avoid getting the same tasks more than once. You could even do a couple of rounds for the activity. In the first round, give the students the tasks you thought of. In the second round, have them think up their own tasks.
  • Another way to promote creativity would be to gamify this and give extra points for original ideas for tasks. For example, if you are the only one to describe swimming, you get 1 point, but if two or more people describe swimming, swimming is worth 0 points.
  • Share the steps for each task as a class. You could have a student (or all the students) act out the steps as you read them out loud. Double-check! Is this a repeated task that would work for a loop? Do you do these steps again and again in order to accomplish a goal?

Some examples of tasks:

  • Nodding your head “yes”
  • Shaking your head “no”
  • Waving to someone
  • Walking up (or down) stairs
  • Doing a specific exercise like jumping jacks
  • Brushing your hair or teeth
  • Eating soup from a bowl with a spoon
  • Using scissors