Students will be sitting on the carpet in a circle.
Animal grid (Appendix): 1 large laminated grid for teacher, 1 small grid placed in plastic sleeve per student
Tissues to erase routes
Introduce students to the grid, highlighting the number of squares there are in each column and row.
Explain that students will be planning routes for a zookeeper to get from the animal house (top left square marked with an X) to an animal.
Introduce rules: paths cannot go on a diagonal or through a square that has another animal on it.
Complete a demo of a 2-step pathway (e.g. to feed the rhinoceros, go 4 squares to the right and 4 squares down). Be sure to put a dot on the square where the path changes direction.
Introduce the code as a method to write this pathway, using arrows pointing in the direction of movement with the number of spaces moved beside it (e.g. → 4 and ↓ 4 to the rhinoceros).
For more practice, have students plan the route to another animal and/or write a 2-step code (→ 7 and ↓ 1) but do not draw a pathway. Have students visualize what animal the zookeeper is going to feed.
Give students their own grid on a clipboard and repeat the activity individually.
Encourage students to make multiple routes to the same animal.
Do children use directional language (e.g. right, left, up, down)?
Can children visualize the code?
How do children communicate the code? Through symbols? Through language? Both?
As children become proficient, introduce 3-step codes and encourage children to create pathways with more steps.
Practice using directional vocabulary to describe location and movement on a grid.