Have a student write out detailed instructions for performing a basic task, then have another student try to follow these instructions exactly. Engaging, interactive classroom activities like this demonstrate that program instructions need to be explicit.

  • Use algorithm “simulation” activities, where one student writes out instructions that another student must follow. 
    • Examples of algorithm "simulation" activities include Internet packet passing activities, making a paper airplane, making a snowflake, tying their shoes, putting on a t-shirt, and the PB&J activity.
  • When you use activities that gloss over details, don’t rush to explain how the details were glossed over.
  • A lot of care is required to keep this type of conversation focused and productive.
  • The benefits of student engagement makes using interactive activities that appear to be off-topic worth your class time.
  • To incentivize this activity, a student’s grade should be based on how successfully their partner completes the task by following their instructions word-for-word.