A couple notes about this example lesson:

Step 1: Establish Clear Outcomes

What are your goals for the overall content as well as reading outcomes for your students?

Key Components of UDL planningGeneral ExamplesStudent Specific Examples
Goals and Computer Science Teachers Association 2017 Standards (Grades 3-5)

Students will be able to:

  • Create programs that include sequences,events, loops and conditionals.
  • Decompose (break down) problems into smaller, manageable subproblems to facilitate the program development process.
  • Test and debug a program or algorithm to ensure it runs as intended.
The class will discuss how conditional statements can be used to add complexity to computer programs. 

Rachel and Mr. Gibson will discuss the Scratch blocks prior to this lesson to avoid frustration. Mr. Gibson also created laminated printouts of the conditional statement blocks that will be used in the lesson to help her learn the purposes of these blocks.  

Rachel has a basic understanding of adding fractions and has had some success in using fraction tiles.  As she develops her own story problems for the project, she will continue to utilize the fraction tiles to help make this abstract idea concrete.
Common Core Math Standards For Grade 4

Students will be able to:

  • Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole and having like denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem.
What are the “big ideas” aligned with the standards, IEP goals, and other outcomes you want your students to achieve?Students will be able to write a fractional parts math story problem and animate their story problem so that another student could interact with the program to answer the math problem.  They will use conditionals to code the program’s response to the inputted answers.Rachel typically uses physical manipulatives to answer math problems related to fractions (e.g., number lines, fraction tiles). Mr. Gibson will show Rachel  the relationship between fraction problems  using physical manipulatives and how to represent fractional parts in Scratch so that she can use similar strategies within the Scratch environment. She will also be encouraged to continue to use the physical manipulatives to check her work. 
What barriers, misconceptions, or other challenges do you anticipate your students will face?

CS General barriers:

  • Students generally have misconceptions about how conditional logic can be used to check if a condition is met or true so that an event is triggered or not triggered.
  • Students often can grasp how simple if-statements work, but can easily become confused by the flow of program execution and how more complex conditional statements are composed and evaluated.

Student specific barriers:

Rachel indicates she is somewhat unsure of how conditional logic works and has never experimented with it in her computing to date.

Step 2: Anticipate Learner Variability

As a teacher, you understand your students’ strengths, weaknesses, and you can probably anticipate what curriculum barriers will limit your students’ access to instruction and materials. In this step, you reflect on how your students’ strengths, weaknesses, preferences, cultural backgrounds as well as on the curriculum itself can become a barrier to learning and engagement.

Key Components of UDL planningGeneral ExamplesStudent Specific Examples
General curriculum barriers (*non-CS related)Many of the students struggle with understanding fractional parts, not only the students with disabilities.  Combining the abstract concept of fractional parts with the idea of basic conditional logic can create additional barriers to learning. If students lack basic understanding of fractions, adding content about conditional logic may make the instruction too difficult.  Rachel has a very foundational understanding of fractions. She can do simple addition of fractions with like denominators. She also has significant math anxiety. Mr. Gibson hopes that the Scratch activities will allow her to engage with the math in a manner that is less intimidating, but he is concerned that her limited math skills with be a barrier to the Scratch activities.
Students’ preferences for representation, expression, and engagementMost of the students, including Rachel, indicate they would prefer to learn CS by engaging in unplugged or concrete activities initially. They also state a preference for group work and having choice in the types of projects they engage in during computer science learning. Rachel has strong social skills and is liked by her peers. She loves expressing herself through art, music, and dance. If there is any way to leverage her highly collaborative nature in the CS activities and reinforce her preference for art in this context, that would be ideal. For example, she can create her own illustrations within her story problems in Scratch rather than picking from a menu of sprites. 

Step 3:  Measurable Outcomes and Assessment Plan

Prior to planning the instructional experience, establish how learning is going to be measured.

Key Components of UDL planningGeneral ExamplesStudent Specific Examples
Embedding formative assessment checks into instruction to ensure all learners are successfully meeting their desired outcomes.

Mr. Gibson created a project planning guide to help Rachel and all the students understand the steps needed to complete the illustrated story problem.

The first part of this guide requires students to write out their story problem to check for math understanding. The second part of the project planning guide has steps and essential Scratch conditional statement blocks that the students should use in their projects to help then plan. He hopes that this planning guide will help Rachel and her peers as well as provide him with formative assessment to guide further instruction.

Providing learners multiple ways and options to authentically engage in the process, take action, and demonstrate understanding. Use the UDL checkpoints to ensure learner success.


Supporting higher-order skills and encouraging a deeper connection with the content.

Mr. Gibson has agreed to play Red Light, Green Light with her at recess to help her gain a foundational understanding of conditional logic.

Mr. Gibson realizes that one of the advantages of letting the students illustrate their math understanding in Scratch is that the students have multiple ways of individualizing their projects (e.g., what story to illustrate? What backgrounds and sprites to use?). He can also differentiate the level of complexity of the math without calling out those differences as each student is illustrating their own problem rather than solving a set of predetermined problems. Lastly, because students will be using each other’s problems, there are multiple opportunities for collaboration.

Additionally, Rachel, who is still struggling with the math, will likely not use all the conditional statement blocks. If Rachel prefers, she can also write her problem in pseudocode and then work with a peer to do the programming.

We will provide options for how Rachel demonstrates her knowledge (e.g., verbal response, drawing, creating a multimedia presentation). Because Rachel will likely not want to write down the main ideas and details, she can also have the option to dictate her responses into an audio recorder.

Step 4:  Instructional Experience

Establish the instructional sequence of events. At minimum plans should include intentional and proactive ways to address the established goals, learner variability, and the assessment plan. Establish a plan for how instructional materials and strategies will be used to overcome barriers and support learner understanding.

  1. Engagement: A variety of methods are used to engage students (e.g., provide choice, address student interest) and promote their ability to monitor their own learning (e.g., goal setting, self-assessment, and reflection).
    The following strategies can be used to provide choice and increase interest and engagement for all students:
    • Choice in backgrounds, sprites, and math story problem narratives.
    • Help cards for managing frustration (e.g., Green=I’m fine; Red=I need help; Purple=I’m done and want to help my peers).
    • Include options for varied complexity of Scratch codes (e.g., using nested loops along with conditional statements vs. simple programs using conditional statements).
    • Varied instructional delivery (e.g., Whole class modeling vs. one-on-one modeling; pair programming; peer tutoring, individual work).
    • Explicitly teaching and encouraging student collaboration.
  2. Representation: Teacher purposefully uses a variety of strategies, instructional tools, and methods to present information and content to anticipate student needs and preferences.
    Content can be represented for all students in the class in multiple ways:
    • Direct instruction and modeling of a sample program, video tutorials, providing code snippets/partially completed code to students, controlled choice/options with certain design elements provided.
    • Utilizing a use, modify, create series of lessons, introduction of the concepts using a concrete or unplugged approach.
    • Use the I do, we do, you do method of representing content first in large group, then have guided practice with the students, and then move towards independent work.
    • Pre-teach content such as the purpose of each of the Scratch blocks that students are expected to use prior to students’ independent work.
    • Use word walls and graphic organizers. For instance, classroom routine signs can be constructed using conditional logic so that students interact with the ideas as part of their everyday experiences.
  3. Action & Expression: Student uses a variety of strategies, instructional tools, and methods to demonstrate new understandings.
    All students can have the option to demonstrate their new understanding through:
    • Presentation of Scratch projects, code walks, producing a flow chart, creating a reflection video about the student’s iterative development process...

Step 5:  Reflection and New Understandings

Establish checkpoints for teacher reflection and new understandings.

  • Did the learners obtain the big ideas and desired outcomes for both the math and CT components of the lesson? (What data support your inference?)
  • What instructional strategies worked well? How can instructional strategies be improved?
  • What tools worked well? How could the use of tools be improved?
  • What strategies and tools provided for multiple means of representation, action/expression, and engagement?
  • What additional tools would have been beneficial to have access to and why?
  • Overall, how might you improve this lesson?