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0.03 Marty's First Moves

Beginning with Screen-Free Coding

30 MinutesScreen-Free
  • What instructions are, directional language: forward, backward, left, right, colors - red, green, blue, purple, yellow
  • Creating instructions

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, learners will create a sequence of steps to allow Marty to move forward and stop, making use of Robotical's colored cards. Each card has an instruction on it, that Marty understands, without the need to write or arrange any code.

Learning Objectives

I can move Marty using color commands.

Key Vocabulary

  • Direction
  • Marty
  • Forward
  • Back
  • Left
  • Right
  • Instruction

Resources & Equipment

  • Marty the Robot V2
  • Color cards
  • Lesson resources
  • Object to tape rocket fuel icon to

Learning Plan & Activities

For this entire lesson, Marty should be on the ground, not on a table.


Have learners all stand up and face the front; make sure that each has space so that no one bumps into anyone else and that no one is too close to a wall, this lesson will have everyone moving forward, back and to the side. To start, let everyone have a good shake to loosen up their muscles. Tell learners that they are going to be following the leader, today, and that then they will be helping a real-live robot to follow instructions.

With your back to the learners, adult support will be watching what is going on, tell learners to follow your lead. Say and move in a sequence of steps:

  • "take 1 step forward" (point with your hand where forward is, to support), saying, 'one',
  • "take 2 steps to the right side" (point with your right hand) and step, saying, 'one, two',
  • "take 1 step back, but be careful not to step on anything" (point behind yourself), saying, 'one',
  • "take 3 steps to the left side" (point with your left hand) and step, saying, 'one, two, three'
  • "stand with your feet still and wiggle your hips"
  • repeat the directions with different numbers, as you want, to reinforce the direction and the count.

Read to learners the learning objectives and success criteria using whichever method is familiar. They are on the ppt slides but the presentation does not need to be shown if you don't want it to be.

Get Learning

Learners have had a chance to move and get used to the words that tell us where to move and how much to move.

Read the text from 'Using the color controls'.

Display the video, from the presentation, of Marty successfully walking to the icon (or hold onto this until after the other videos are shown, presently this video appears after the other color card videos but all you need to do is click and drag the slide to change its position) - the video is cut before Marty bumps into the wall. The color cards give Marty 20 steps in the direction that the cards command, opportunity to discuss how to stop Marty should be encouraged when learners begin experimenting. The color cards are not shown in any of the videos. the reason for that is to show learners where Marty can go without giving answers.

Have the 5 colors, making up the + shape displayed either on the board or on the carpet; it is one of the powerpoint slides and as a downloadable resource if you want it to be displayed on the floor, as are each of the separate colors, which can be used as talking points

Ask learners what they think the different colors might do. Owing to the exposure learners may have had to console games and mobile apps, they might have ideas already but they might not. If they are a bit stuck, just ask them about green and red, to start with. If learners do not connect the direction pad and colors to movement, have a Marty ready in screen-free mode, to reinforce or support their ideas, and put either a blue or purple card under the color sensor, ensuring that Marty is facing away from the learners.

Ask about what they saw Marty do, when placed on either of the colored cards. Learners might say, "He went that way," and point. Reply with, "Yes, Marty went (fill in the direction word, right, left or back)."

"Looking back at the color controller, what do you think the other colors might do?" Learners might respond with, "Green goes that way (pointing forward), yellow goes that way (pointing back)," etc. Red might still be a mystery but some learners may recall that they did a wiggle in the warm-up activity and suggest this or others might suggest that red is for stop and that is what red will do. Reply with something like, "That's a great idea, we'll need to investigate."

Display the other videos from the presentation of Marty moving to the left and right, without letting them see the color of the card he is on. There is additional information on each of the slides with video. One

Ask learners if Marty was able to get to the right place. What colors do you think the cards were to get Marty to move that way?

Have learners suggest the color for the card. Should you wish to reinforce their ideas, show a Marty, facing away, being placed on the appropriate colored card and moving in that direction - to test their ideas. The reason for having Marty face away from the learners is so that they can have the left and right directions reinforced. If Marty were place so that they were facing the learners, it would be more difficult to reinforce the direction words due to the perspective of the learners. The same is true at the start of the lesson, when you are facing away from learners.

Time for Practice

Let learners know that they will need to guide Marty to his destination by using the color controller. Reinforce that learners need to be gentle with Marty, perhaps something like, "If we were all to touch Marty, the destination would never be reached. Let's do our best to just use the controller colors to tell Marty where to go and we can celebrate together at the end, when Marty reaches the goal."

Start by setting up a 'start point' that is free from obstacles. If you are using multiple Martys, it might be wise to have some tape to make the letter x for the number of Martys that you have. Tell learners that this is the starting point. Have the petrol pump object less than 50 cm away, with nothing blocking the path (the farthest Marty will walk in any direction with a single screen-free cards is 20 steps, with each step being about 2.5 cm, which is dependent on the surface); there will need to be a way of identifying this as a finish place, maybe a ball or a box, or something that is identifiable. Ask learners, "How will you tell Marty to go from the X to the petrol pump?" Learners might reply, "I would get him to point to the 'finish place' and walk forward; I would get him to point there (pointing at the finish place) and move that way (pointing at the finish place); I would get him to walk to the finish place; I would tell him to walk." For any responses that neglect a direction word or action, ask questions or encourage use of vocabulary, linking to the color cards: "What way will he have to move? What way does he need to face? What color card do you need to use?"

Let learners use the card they think is best to have Marty reach the goal. It might be that Marty doesn't quite reach the finish point - perhaps he was off by a few centimetres - take this time to improve. Let learners know that making mistakes is a time to celebrate too because it means that we have a chance to make things better. If learners suggest using a blue, purple or yellow card, with Marty facing a different direction, this is also correct. This shows a good understanding of perspective and direction and should be highlighted, but only if it comes from the learners.

Once learners all manage to reach the goal, celebrate with them. "You just created a program to tell Marty to do something. You are at the very start of a journey to create instructions for computers and robots!!"

Chances are that learners did not use a red card to stop Marty, before reaching the petrol pump. If some learners did, ask them about this. How did they decide where to place the card? What difference does the red card make? The following text is a suggestion to encourage thinking about adding the red card."When Marty reached his goal, the rocket kept going. I wonder if there is a command that we can use to have Marty stop and celebrate... hmmm. We can tell Marty to go forward (show the green card and face the way the learners are facing and point forward)." (Repeat for the other direction cards making sure you use the words and point in the direction learners are facing.) "How can we tell Marty to stop at the planet?" Learners are likely to suggest using the red card.

Get Marty(s) ready at the start again and have learners place a red card at the finish spot and place the green card at the start. Put Marty on the green card and watch to see the dance at the end. If it takes too long to fit this into one lesson block, revisit in a future lesson and start with how we told Marty to walk forward.

Celebrate the successful instructions with learners!!

Cool Down

Remind learners of the amazing work that they accomplished, "You were able to instruct a robot to move from a starting point to a finishing point! That is just amazing! I wonder what we will get up to with Marty, next time?"

Remind learners of the goals for the lesson, "To tell a robot to move to a finish place," and, "to have Marty reach the finish place."

Ask learners if they think they did well with the lesson using a familiar formative assessment strategy: thumbs up for good, thumbs to the side for OK, thumbs down for not so good; a green, yellow or red card, indicating their thoughts; a one to one chat about the learning; whole class feedback using a PMI (plus, minus, interesting) approach; or some other strategy with which the learners are familiar.

Read the closing part of the story, to close of this lesson and tie into the next part.

Carry out any end of lesson routines.

Log off devices and clear everything away.

Extensions & Challenges


Make the finish area farther away, if you make the icon farther than 50 cm, learners will need to use a second green card to keep moving in that direction. This will require learners to use a bit more trial and error as Martys movement is affected by bumps in the carpet or slidy surfaces.


Use a long ruler to guide the placement of Marty, for the initial direction. Encourage learners to get low to the ground to get a 'Marty-eye' view.

  • Curriculum for Excellence - Technologies Benchmark Guide: Computing Science
  • CSTA Education Standards
  • Curriculum for Excellence - Literacy Benchmark Guide: Listening and Talking
  • Curriculum for Excellence - Health and Wellbeing across Learning Guide: Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing
  • Curriculum for Excellence - Numeracy Benchmark Guide: Number, Money and Measure
  • Australian f-10 Curriculum – Digital Technologies, Design & technologies: Digital Technologies
  • National Curriculum - Computing, Design and Technology: Computing
  • Curriculum for Excellence - Literacy Benchmark Guide: Writing
  • International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
Curriculum OrganiserExperiences and Outcomes Covered
Understanding and analysing computing technology
TCH 0-14a
TCH 0-14b
Designing, building and testing computing solutions
TCH 0-15a