Coding with Robots in Primary

Elementary Coding, Grades 1-3

This year I have introduced coding to almost 100 students in grades 1-3. One of their projects was to design, build and code obstacle courses for their robots. Lessons & Curriculum connections are listed below.


Curriculum – Mathematics (Geometry & Spatial Sense)

Students will program the Robot, Dash, to follow a path with obstacles using positional language and describing location.

By the end of Grade 1, students will:

  • describe the relative locations of objects using positional language (e.g., over, under, above, below, in front of, behind, inside, outside, beside, between, along)

By the end of Grade 2, students will:

  • describe the relative locations (e.g., beside, two steps to the right of ) and the movements of objects on a map (e.g.,“The path shows that he walked around the desk, down the aisle, and over to the window.”);

By the end of Grade 3, students will:

  • describe movement from one location to another using a grid map (e.g., to get from the swings to the sandbox, move three squares to the right and two squares down);

TDSB Coding Standard

Students K-2:

  • Understand, design, develop and test algorithms (i.e., list of instructions) for a specific purpose (e.g., planting a seed, going home from school)

TDSB Coding Skills

Writing Programs:

  • Follow a path by using symbols (e.g., directions a character must take to move along a path; move forward, back, left, right)

Required Resources:

Dash Robots


Apps – Go, for Dash & Dot Robots; Path, for Dash & Dot Robots; Blockly for Dash and Dot

Lessons 1 & 2 – Unplugged Activities

  • Introduce students to the language of programming & coding (Algorithm, Testing, Debugging etc.)
  • Introduce students to the value of programming & coding in our world today

Lessons 2 & 3 – Working with iPads & Apps

  • Establish the rules & routines for working with the iPads & the Robots
  • Introduce students to the various apps on the iPads through the tutorials so that they become comfortable & familiar with the apps and how they work with the Robots

Lessons 3 & 4 – Programming Challenges

  • Provide students with a series of programming challenges (i.e. to move your Robot around the perimeter of a tile, move through a path with obstacles)
  • Tasks will use positional language and students will practice describing the location of the robots and objects or barriers
  • Students will understand, design, develop and test their algorithms (list of instructions)

Lessons 5 & 6 – Move your Robot through a Path

  • Students will program their Robot to move through a path and to follow a series of commands using positional language
  • Students will describe how they designed, developed and tested their Robot to move along a path using positional language and describing location

Lessons 7 – Consolidation

  • Students will reflect on their learning, considering what they are proud of, what they would like to improve, and next steps for learning