Grades K-2
Grades 3-5

Move It, Move It Programming Activity

Play a fun, collaborative, and hands-on activity to introduce students to “programming”!

Activity Partner
Total time estimate:
30-60 minutes
Activity Objectives
  • Students will learn about programming through a collaborative exercise in which they use hand gestures to convey a series of steps (or “algorithm”) to a classmate
  • Then, students will work together to create and share algorithms to successfully navigate a maze—without speaking!

This activity supports the development of the following
social-emotional skills: relationship skills, self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness.


Before beginning this activity, review the teacher lesson guide below. Use this video to introduce the activity to your students: a collaborative exercise in which they will practice “programming” with each other by using hand gestures to convey a series of steps (or “algorithm”). These steps will guide students to successfully navigate a maze together!

Divide up your class into groups of 2–4 students, and provide each group with a copy of the activity packet below. Before students start the exercise, consider setting expectations for how students should work together in order to achieve their common goal: reaching the end of the maze! For example, students should practice patience with each other (it’s okay to make mistakes!), use kind and respectful language when “debugging” their instructions, and take turns being the “Walking Machine” and “Controller.”


Organize a live virtual exchange with your Empatico partner class, and invite students to try out the activity together! To do this,

  1. Align with your partner educator on which map you will use (either student-created or from the activity packet) during the virtual exchange, then arrange it on the floor in both classrooms before starting (make sure the smiley face page is facing down).
  2. Practice the hand gestures during the virtual exchange—it might take a little bit of practice to figure out how to convey and interpret gestures accurately through video!
  3. Pick a student from each class—one student will be the “Controller,” and the other student will be the “Walking Machine.” The “Controller” will use the hand gestures over video to provide instructions to the “Walking Machine” in the other class.
  4. Work together to solve the puzzle. Then, invite more students to take a turn!

Guide students through a post-activity reflection by asking the following questions:

  • What were some strategies that you used to work together to solve the maze?
  • Did you encounter any challenges? How did you solve them (or what would you do differently next time)?
  • Why is collaboration an important skill to practice? What are some other ways that we can continue practicing this skill in our class?

This activity was created in partnership with

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