Self-Portrait in Blocks (Age 7)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Arithmetic. Book: Alice in Pastaland, by Wright. This book is a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland with a light math theme. The kids loved the theme of the book, and were happy to work out the various math problems. It’s a longer book, so we only read the first half.
  2. Topic: Programming. We brought back our old pen-and-paper programming language.   Here are the programs.IMG_20151122_165849
  3. Topic: Geometry. We gave each kid a strip of paper with a word on it, like cat or crab or rainbow. The kid then tried to make that object using wooden pattern blocks. When done, the other kids tried to guess what it was.


How did it go?

We had 4 kids this week. It was a very focused and fun circle. Everyone stayed on task the whole time.


Three of the four kids immediately remembered how the language worked. They zoomed through the programs quickly, making progress on their own.  There were still a few mistakes, but very few.  The trickiest program we had today had nested loops:

Do 4 times {

Do 2 times {

Print “B”



One kid figured this out completely independently. Two others got it with help.

The fourth kid was less comfortable with programming. They understood assignment and printing, but still didn’t fully understand the concept of a loop.  For example, which lines should you repeat? What’s inside the loop and outside?  With some one-on-one help they completed five or six programs, but they still need more practice.

Pattern Block Pictures

Everyone loved this activity. The kids quickly made surprisingly good pictures of cats, crabs, tree, flower, star, airplane.  The hardest ones were: pizza, dragon, and car.

We had a few minutes left after we finished all the words I had prepared. Three kids decided to write their own cards for me and the other kid to make.  One of the cards I got said “Corey” (my name).  So I made a lovely self-portrait out of blocks:





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