Real-life Algorithms

Origami Flapping Bird and the Makerspace/TinkerStation


What if we told you that you use "coding" every single day? You use it at home, in school, with your classmates, with your friends, with your family. Coding, algorithms--all words for instructions. It merely depends on "to what" or "to whom" you are sending the instructions.

If you send me a recipe--those are a set of instructions that a human is going to use to make a pie or a cake or some cookies. There may be some things I infer during the process: If the recipe says simply "sugar" I will probably infer that you mean granulated white sugar. If the recipe really needs brown sugar, you will have to put that into the recipe specifically.

If you send that recipe to a robot, those instructions will look differently in terms of words and numbers and steps. A robot can only do what you write into the code. There are no inferences unless you write in a choice: an "if then, then that" statement. (We will talk more about this in a minute.)

Have you ever been walking somewhere and wondered what kept your legs moving? What keeps your heart beating? What keeps your thoughts focused or scattered? Our bodies are "programmed" to do things without us even thinking about them. The instructions are built in.

How would you make a robot walk and keep walking? Programming!

You would write a set of instructions and then have them loop or repeat. The robot would only stop if you wrote into the instructions for it to stop.


Let's try it.

You will watch a set of instructions to make an origami flapping bird.

They aren't easy instructions. We will all have to make adjustments, clarify, and rewrite the code as we go.

Be patient. The end result is worth it.

How did it go?

We made some adjustments.

You had to ask some questions.

I had to clarify.

Was the code perfect?

Was your end result the same as the person next to you?

What kind of "if/then" statements did we use?

If "input" then "output"

If you do this, the end result will be______

The Happy Egg Co - Happy Eggs' Pancake-omatic
Hour of Code - Bill Gates explains If statements

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"19 TAC Chapter 130, Subchapter D." 19 TAC Chapter 130, Subchapter D. Accessed February 05, 2016. Instructor Handbook: Code Studio Lesson Plans for Courses One, Two and Three. Created in Partnership with Thinkersmith. Pages 101-104.

Jackson, Elizabeth. "Real-life Algorithms." Smore. February 02, 2016. Accessed February 08, 2016.

"Standards for the 21st-Century Learner." Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. Accessed February 08, 2016.

(Formatting on Smore does not accommodate hanging indents.)