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## Computers Only Do What They Are Told Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP-EDT002
Author: Daniel Swomley
School or Affiliation: Hanover School, Colorado Springs, CO Date: 1994

Grade Level(s): 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Subject(s):

• Computer Science

Overview: Most students have difficulty following directions and few students have ever had the opportunity to give directions. They do not realize the importance of being precise.

Purpose: The purpose of this activity is to help students realize the need to be precise when programming a computer.

Objectives: As a result of this activity, students will:

• Appreciate the importance of following directions.
• Appreciate the difficulty of giving precise directions.
• Confirm objectives 1 and 2 by writing and debugging a short computer program.
• Materials: Four different geometric designs as described in the activities section. Activities and Procedures: This activity can be used in introductory programming using any computer language. It should take place before any programming is started.

Make four different geometric designs, each on a separate sheet of paper. The first should be quite simple (such as a hexagon). The following three should be of increasing difficulty with the fourth involving circles, lines, curves, and any other components you desire. Make enough copies of these figures for each student in the class.

1. Pick one student in the class to go to the chalkboard and one student to sit facing the back of the room.
2. Hand out the first geometric design to each student in the class and do not allow the student at the board to see it.
3. Have the student facing the back of the room (without looking at the board) give directions on how to draw the figure to the person at the board. Have that person draw along with the directions.
4. Repeat this procedure with the remaining three geometric designs. Allow other students to take turns drawing and giving directions. If the assignment becomes too difficult, allow the person giving directions to look at the board.

Tying It All Together: Have students write a simple program in the language being taught. When debugging the program, make sure the student understands the computer only did what it was being told.