Thursday, August 25, 2016

Introducing Dash & Dot Coding to 3rd Grade

Introducing Dash & Dot: Unplugged 1 of 2
Lesson Plan for 3rd Grade
Prepared by Ms. Yandell


The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the students to Dash & Dot smart robotics.  They will be introduced to programming and how it is used to make robots to certain functions.  This will be a two part lesson, the first being an unplugged experience.


ISTE Standards (technology standards)
Creativity and Innovation - Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and process using technology.
Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making - Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
  • Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions
Technology operations and concepts - Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.
  • Understand and use technology systems
  • Select and use applications effectively and productively
  • Troubleshoot systems and applications
  • Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies


  1. Comprehension
  2. Problem Solving
  3. Creativity
  4. Planning out a series of instructions
  5. What comes to mind when you hear the word robot?
  6. What is a robot?
  7. What is a computer program?
  8. Why do we use computer programs for Dash & Dot?
  9. What are things that robots can be programmed to do?
  10. What are things that robots can do to help our community?


  1. Dash & Dot
  2. 10 Ipads
  3. Pencil and Paper


Steps to check for student understanding
  1. After today’s lesson, will you all be ready to program the dash robots perform different functions?
  2. How does programming work?
  3. Were you able to work well in your group, and give proper instructions to your puppeteer?
  4. If things did not go well, what could you have done differently?


Unplugged activity - Puppeteer
First demonstrate this activity with you, the teacher, as the ‘puppet’ and the class giving instructions.
Pass out Puppeteer Sheet 1. Make students believe that you have not seen what is on the sheet. Instruct students to direct you to draw the sketch on the sheet. Show students how specific the instructions need to be.
  • The instructions must include quantity and specificity.
  • If a student says “draw a circle,” draw a tiny circle, or if a student says “draw a circle inside of a square,” make the square much larger than the circle to show that size is required.
  • If a student says “draw a circle and a square,” draw the shapes side-by-side, or if a student says “draw an arrow”, draw it far from the other objects, or at the wrong angle to show that position is required.
Then, pair students up and give one student in each group Puppeteer Sheet 2. This student is the puppeteer of the group. Instruct puppeteers to make sure their partner does not see the sketch on the sheet. Instruct puppeteers to direct their partner to draw the figure on the sheet.

First Activity with Dash & Dot - introduction

  • Teacher holds up the robots (starting with Dash)
  • Ask the students some questions - If we want to work with this robot, how do we get started? Once they mention that you have to turn it one, ask them for where they think the on/off switch is?
  • Turn on Dash
    • Notice that at this point the students can name Dash.
    • At this point Dash will make some noises. Students will automatically wonder where those sounds are coming from.
    • They will also notice that Dash will move his/her head and colors will be displayed. Use this opportunity to point out the different “features” of Dash (wheels, sensors, buttons, speaker, colors, etc)

Second Activity with Dash & Dot - “Go” App

  1. Display the app controls through the projector onto the board at the front of the room
  2. Look at the different “icons” and again ask the students what they think will happen.
  3. Once the class has gone through all of the sounds, then place the robot on the floor and experiment with the different options.
  4. Watching Dash move around will cause even more excitement for the students. Give different students a chance to pick different options to see what happens.

Third (and final activity) with Dash & Dot - “Path” App

(make sure that Dash is on the floor, or somewhere where he/she can’t get hurt)
  1. Teacher will display the “Path” App
  2. Start with the first App which is basically a grid. Hand the iPad to one of the students have them draw a line with their finger. Might want to start off with a simple straight line. Depending on the amount of floor space available will determine how much of a line you wish to have the student draw. (You can also leave it to trial and error, so that the students can see what happens when Dash runs out of room … runs into an obstacle)
  3. Ask the students what they think will happen.
  4. How much space is one square?
  5. Drag up the different sound effects to see what happens.
Basically this activity is all about exploring the app. Have the students try different things, ask them to think about what might happen, does what happen fit with their hypotheses (or expectations), if not, why not?

Recap written by Jessica Yandell:

This week, in one of the third grade classrooms I was able to introduce my good friends, Dash & Dot!  The focus of this lesson was to get the students thinking about coding programs, and introduce them to the apps and the robots.  I knew that the kids would be excited, so I decided to do their unplugged activity before introducing Dash & Dot.  This was a two part activity which was called puppeteer.  

The first part of the activity, the whole class was to act like a puppeteer, and tell me step by step how to perform a task. I gave each table a piece of paper to share with a picture of an object on it, and the goal was for everyone in the class to tell me how to draw the object using only verbal cues.  They had to be very specific in giving their directions in the proper order to ensure I drew the correct object.  Everyone was excited and engaged, and if I drew something wrong they say, “no, the line does not go vertically it is supposed to go diagonally through the object.”  The students were learning how important it is to follow a specific sequence of instructions to be successful, which is the basics to coding!

Next, I allowed the class to separate into groups of two, and do the same activity with a different picture. One partner drew the object, whereas the other member gave the drawing instructions, and made sure their partner did not see what the object looked like.  This was a fun exercise to start with, because it allowed collaboration and persistence to be successful!

The last part of the lesson was presenting my new “friends.”  I called two volunteers, which I let them uncover what was in my bag!  The whole class was excited!  We talked briefly about what robots are and things that they can do.  I wanted them to understand how our society uses them for many things, such as in the medical field, agriculture, etc.  We started running out of time, so I briefly showed the students that I used apps to write programs which tell the robots what to do.  Before the lesson, I had programmed Dash & Dot to perform and introduction for the students, where they said, “hello, nice to meet you,” and “ awe man, you’re making me blush!”  The kids loved it and were thrilled they would be able to use them for future projects!

(lesson adapted from

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