By Aaron, age 7 and Jacob Burgess, Jr. FLL Coach

Have you ever wondered how to brush your teeth or how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? My guess is probably not. But, why? Most likely someone has given you the instructions. Perhaps, like this 7 year old as he recalls the steps to brushing his teeth and making a sandwich.

How to brush your teeth:

  • Step 1. Wash your toothbrush.
  • Step 2. Put the toothpaste on your toothbrush.
  • Step 3. Scrub your teeth.
  • Step 4. Rinse your mouth with water.
  • Step 5. Wash your toothbrush again.
  • Step 6. Dry your toothbrush and dry your mouth.

How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich:

  • Step 1. Get two slices of bread.
  • Step 2. Spread peanut butter on one of the slices.
  • Step 3. On the other slice of bread spread jelly.
  • Step 4. Smash them together.
  • Step 5. Eat it.

Now, imagine you’re an alien from another world. Would these instructions make sense? This is coding. What is coding you might ask? It is creating a set of instructions to perform a set of tasks.

FLL-Jr-Logo-300x247In basic coding there are three concepts: Sequencing, Conditionals and Looping. Sequencing is arranging the right commands in the correct order. Conditionals are structures that define what should happen if executed instructions are yes/no or true/false. For example, what would happen if you are out of peanut butter or jelly? Should you use mayonnaise? Looping is a list of instructions to do more than once. For example, what if you have to make more than one sandwich? Could you put peanut butter on half of the slices before moving on to jelly? If you can give instructions, then you have the ability to write code. How would you tell someone to make the bed or clean off the table?

If you like playing with LEGOS and writing code, the First LEGO League Jr. Teams, use STEM-based knowledge along with coding to work through various challenges. Go check out their website!