Diary of a Lead Teacher: Alien Invasion!
This month, year 1 classes have been contacted by aliens! The aliens sent us a message explaining that they were coming to visit us very soon. They didn’t have photographs of themselves so they sent us some instructions so that we could draw them ourselves. Children listened carefully to the set of instructions and composed the alien portraits. Draw a square for a head. Add 4 round eyes. Add 8 wiggly legs. They were very excited to meet these weird and wonderful creatures!
We realised that the aliens would arrive at school with no idea about the structure of our day, how to learn in the classroom, how to get lunch or even how to make friends. The children thought about how we could help them. What would we want to know if it was us visiting their school? We decided that a set of instructions for daily routines would be the perfect way to welcome our new friends.
The most important part of the day, of course, is lunch and we started to think about how we get our food. Children carefully reflected on not only how they choose their food, but also the processes before, after and during eating. How do you get to the lunch hall? Which side must you stand on? How do you eat your food? These were the key questions we asked in order to establish the minute details of getting our lunch. What does the other hand do when the fork is brought to our mouth? Children spent a lot of time composing detailed instructions to be able to help the aliens. What we ended up with were some really detailed and specific guidelines to help the aliens when they arrived.
Children were so proud of their efforts to train our alien friends, and are beginning to really understand the importance of careful analysis of a task to ensure clear and specific instructions. This creative approach really supports the development of decomposition skills and the connections that writing instructions has to algorithms. It’s great to see the progress that children are making, even at this young age, in their computational thinking skills!