Ever thought “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” could munch its way through code? Well, buckle up for a coding journey! We’re bringing the book to life, programming our caterpillar friend’s feast. This adventure spans several classes, around 6 hours total, but hey, if we’re having too much fun, who says we can’t extend the fun? Let’s dive in and see where our coding caterpillar takes us! All you need is: KIBO Robots, KIBO’s Screen-free Programming Coding Blocks and Light Sensor.

Step 1: Read the Book Together

We read The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle together. Once done I asked, “How is the caterpillar’s search for food like a program?” Answers included, there was a pattern; he was born, he ate, made a cocoon, and then became a butterfly; he ate more food each time, etc.

I told the students we were going to use the repeat block and change the variable of times repeated each time.Read the Book Together

Step 2: Definitions

TO DO: Ask students for a definition of a pattern.

Possible answers: something like shapes or numbers that repeats the same way.

SHOW: The Patterns found within the Very Hungry Caterpillar (see image).

TO DO: Ask students if this is a pattern or something else?

Answer: It is a pattern, but it’s also a sequence, because there is a pattern, the numbers grow each time, but the fruit changes each time.

(Have students attempt to create a sequence with their KIBO blocks. Students pair up so they have more blocks which makes the sequence more apparent.)


Step 3: Whole Group Debugging

After two class periods of tinkering away, I start the next session by projecting our work and leading a discussion on its accuracy. We identify any hiccups in the code and troubleshoot together. Then, it’s time for students to put their coding skills to the test as they program their own robots.

Differentiation: If any students are struggling with any aspect of the project, I may pair them with someone rather than working alone.Whole Group Debugging

Step 4: Sequencing Together

We revisit the story to clarify the distinction between patterns and sequences. After reading, I project sequence pictures and we assemble the coding blocks collaboratively. Next class, I’ll jog their memory and let them take the reins, scanning the blocks themselves. Let’s keep the learning journey flowing smoothly!

Sequencing TogetherSequencing Together

Step 5: Share

I’ve discovered that this step is crucial for my younger students. They absolutely love celebrating their successes, especially with such a potentially long term project. Once they’ve achieved their goals, if time permits, I’ll have them line up their robots and press start together, creating a mini parade of accomplishment. It’s a joyous moment that really boosts their confidence and camaraderie!

Children learning and playing with KIBO. (2024). [Photograph]. The Agnes Irwin School, Pennsylvania.