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Hour of Code Activity 2 - the Marty Controller

45 Minutes

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, learners will create a sequence of steps to allow a partner to travel a route to a goal, making use of the Marty Controller. Each of the directional symbols has an attached movement; in this lesson, learners will be encouraged to experiment with the directional arrows but the focus will be on the forward arrow.

Learners should have a partner or be in a small group to complete the learning tasks.

Key vocabulary:
    Direction, Forward, Back, Left, Right, Instruction, Estimation,

Content Sections

  • Learning Objectives
  • Warm up
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  • Get Learning
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  • Time for Practice
  • Cool Down
  • Extensions & Challenges
  • Extend
  • Support
  • Additional Reading
  • Hour of Code Activity 2 - the Marty Controller

    45 Minutes

    Lesson Overview

    In this lesson, learners will create a sequence of steps to allow a partner to travel a route to a goal, making use of the Marty Controller. Each of the directional symbols has an attached movement; in this lesson, learners will be encouraged to experiment with the directional arrows but the focus will be on the forward arrow.

    Learners should have a partner or be in a small group to complete the learning tasks.

    Key vocabulary:
      Direction, Forward, Back, Left, Right, Instruction, Estimation,
    • Ordering instructions, directional language, estimation, symbol awareness
      • Workbook
      • Controller resource printed out

    Learning Objectives

    I can move a partner with the symbols in the Marty Controller.

    Warm up

    Share the learning objectives and success criteria from the lesson. Have the five colored cards, or paper, laid out on the floor like this:

    This layout is used to replicate modern directional gaming pads that learners will have seen: green is forward, purple is right, blue is left, yellow is back and red is stop.

    Say to learners, "We are going to be like Marty the Robot, today, and respond to the colors we see. Because we are inside, we'll make each card instruct us to take three steps, so we don't bump into things."

    Proceed to show learners a sequence of colors, of your choosing, that learners will need to act out as though they were Marty. To reinforce the meaning of each color, ask what the last color of each sequence represents. For example, you might have green, blue, green, yellow, red; learners would move forward, left, forward, back and stop; they would say that red is for stop. Repeat this activity to get learners warmed up.

    Get Learning

    Read the story from the presentation to introduce the focus of the lesson.

    The main goal of the lesson is to become more familiar with the idea of symbols. Tell the learners, “In the story, the village children found out what the arrow symbols mean for Marty’s Controller, but can anyone remember what symbols we used when we were getting warmed up?”

    If learners suggest the colors on the cards, congratulate them. If they forget, point to a random object in the classroom (make sure it is one of the colors from Marty’s cards) and ask what they see. They should be able to tell you what it is, if they don’t say the color, ask them what color it is and what the color is a symbol for, when we were Marty. Learners may suggest the other symbols from earlier in the lesson but if they don’t, find something else that corresponds to a different color.

    This video, which is in the presentation, shows Marty the Robot moving with the Controller. Tell learners that they need to pay attention as the Controller is used with Marty.

    Ask learners, “How far does Marty walk each time you press an arrow?” one step “Who can show me about how big one step is?” you may have some enthusiastic learners take a very big step, ask them if they would usually take steps that big when they go for a walk outside. Have an object about a meter away (about 1 yard) and ask learners, “About how far away is that (name of object)” children may hold their arms wide apart or use words like very far, really far, or other adjectives to decrease the distance. Ask learners to think back to their steps and how many steps they think they would need to take to get to the object.

    Give learners an opportunity to experiment with moving you (the teacher), in the four directions, with their paper copy of the Marty Controller. Learners will need to vocalize what they are pressing: forward, left, right, back; learners will need to take turns for this, and they will need to do this each time they press the button, you will need to respond with each button press. After learners see how you move to their button presses, place an object less than 5 meters away and return to where you were standing. Have learners think, about how many steps you need to take, to reach the object? Have them think, "About how big was one of our teacher's steps, about how many of them will they need to reach the object?"

    There is a page in the workbook that has a place for recording estimates and descriptions about how close they were. If learners need more attempts, perhaps provide them with extra paper.

    Time for Practice

    Have a selection of objects in the classroom and ask learners to step take 2 or 3 yards away from the object to be their partner's starting point. Learners need to discuss as a team a first estimate of about how many steps away their partner is; the best idea might be for one person in the group to place an object while the rest of the group are not watching or a person from a different group could do this. After they decide on an estimate, have learners test the idea by tapping the forward arrow that many times and recording a description of how close they were in the workbook.

    Learners need to continue this estimation process until they arrive at a reasonable destination. Take time to walk around the room to observe the discussion. Listen for comments like, “4 steps was too far away, let’s try 5.” Or, “We tried 7 steps, but that wasn’t enough, let’s try 6.” If you hear comments like these, or other similarly mistaken ideas, intervene with questions and ideas that will encourage learners to think differently about it.

    Feel free to repeat this activity to get the learners used to the idea of estimating in order to perform a final answer for their 'program'. There are suggestions in the Extend and Support section to bring more of a challenge to this activity.

    Cool Down

    Remind learners of the amazing work that they accomplished, "You learned to use the Marty Controller quicker than the adults in the village, that’s really impressive!"

    Remind learners of the goals for the lesson, "To move a partner with symbols," and, "to move a partner to a goal."

    Ask learners if they think they did well with the lesson using a familiar formative assessment strategy: thumbs up for good, thumbs to the side for OK, thumbs down for not so good; a green, yellow or red card, indicating their thoughts; a one to one chat about the learning; whole class feedback using a PMI (plus, minus, interesting) approach; or some other strategy with which the learners are familiar.

    Read the closing part of the story, to close off this lesson and tie it into the next part.

    Carry out any end of lesson routines.

    Log off devices and clear everything away.

    Extensions & Support

    Extend

    Make the finish area farther away. This will require learners to use a bit more trial and error as it can be trickier to estimate for greater distances.

    Support

    Use a long ruler to guide the placement of the partner, for the initial direction. Encourage learners to get low to the ground to get a different perspective of the distance.

    Additional Reading

    User Guide for the Marty Controller to give an idea of how to connect the app with the official Marty the Robot

    This is the extended video of Marty the Robot connecting to the app.


    • Technologies: Computing Science
    • Literacy & English: Listening and Talking
    • Health and Wellbeing: Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing
    • Numeracy: Number, Money and Measure
    • Literacy & English: Writing
    • CSTA Education Standards
    • Digital Technologies, Design & technologies: Digital Technologies
    • Computing, Design and Technology: Computing
    • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)