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Mazes and Monsters: A Classroom Coding Lesson Plan

Topic Introduction

Coding is writing computer programs to achieve a goal or perform a task. When coding, you have to use a programming language like Python or JavaScript to translate your ideas into phrases, syntax, and words the computer understands. The instructions you give to the computer are known as commands.

Using resources like mazes and monsters, you can teach code to students.


Mazes provide students with a problem; create a maze from a starting block in the top left down to the finishing block on the bottom right. Usually, a rat is placed in the maze and must follow the created path from start to finish, but the rat can only move forward and down. has a version of this coding practice. 


Monsters are often the teachers of online coding. The site CodeMonster utilizes a friendly monster to teach coding in a non-threatening manner.

Activity Benefits

The following are benefits of learning coding:

  • Coding teaches students how to be digital creators of apps, websites, and programs
  • Coding allows students to explore their potential of using the internet and multimedia resources
  • Coding allows students to share their ideas, creativity, and talents
  • Coding enables students to explore their problem-solving skills and computational thinking, which they apply in their academic and professional disciplines
  • Coding helps students to know how the technology they use every day works
  • Coding gives students the chance to begin the journey of pursuing their career and professional goals

Basic Skills Students Need to Have to Start Coding

Students in middle school taking coding lessons need to have basic skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Attention to Detail - The slightest details can cause the coding syntax to have errors or not to function and achieve the objective. Students have to behave patiently and be mindful when reading and writing codes.
  • Perseverance - Students will have to be patient in their experiments utilizing trial and error. They will need to figure out which sequences, commands, and syntax will lead to their desired outcomes.
  • Logic - Coding gives learners a challenge in which they have to use logic to identify the cause and effect of each code they create.
  • Basic Computer Skills - Coding requires learners to have the knowledge or fundamental skills of using a computer, such as typing, logging in and out, and clicking commands.

Codings Relevance to Non-STEM Subjects

Educators of all subjects can integrate coding projects into their curriculum to demonstrate mastery of the subject. Coding projects offer a great opportunity for learners as they must critically think, problem-solve, and utilize logic. 

Time for Coding

Most coding lessons should last about one hour. Many online programs are created to last one hour before students can advance to the next lesson. Depending on your school and chosen extra-curricular opportunities, students could perform coding in a Coding Class or an after-school program. The desired length of classes can follow a quarter, semester, or year-long program. 

Courses & Lessons for Teaching Coding

You can teach coding to middle school students as a tool for navigating the digital world. Coding helps them use their experiences, values in learning, and existing knowledge to create and explore. 

Make use of the following apps when teaching coding:

  1. Unity Learn - Video game creation
  2. MAD-learn - App development
  3. Tynker Junior - Teaches code through games
  4. Machine Learning for Kids - Teaches AI 
  5. Root Coding - Teaches coding through online tools and a physical robot to follow created commands
  6. - Teaches website, app, and game creation
  7. Microsoft MakeCode - Build game code
  8. SAM Labs - Teaches coding through app-based tasks, then performs functions with SAM blocks
  9. Google CS First - Teaches coding in single one-hour lessons
  10. GameSalad - Online game creation

Warm Up to Coding

Introduce your students to coding by beginning your course with the Hour of Code. "The Hour of Code [is] a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code," to show that anybody can learn the basics." The use of basic teaching tools like Hour of Code can help you gauge your student's coding knowledge. From there, you can begin to introduce more advanced coding programs.

Many of the suggested lessons provide diagnostics for educators to track and watch the growth of student understanding. 

Concluding Thoughts

Coding for middle school students is beneficial for enhancing the quality of education. Learners can use the skills from coding in other parts of their education and enter their career fields with confidence and a love of coding.

Written by Roselyn Kati
Education World Contributor
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