Fuzzy Friend Speaks: Empathy and Coding

Grades K-2 45 min
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Using a Fuzzy Friend, students will be introduced to algorithmic thinking and following sequential steps.

In Fuzzy Friend Speaks, students will be introduced to algorithmic thinking and following sequential steps. Students will empathize with Fuzzy Friend, who speaks in his own code, and are challenged to learn Fuzzy Friend’s code to decipher the name of his favorite animal.

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Learning Objectives

  • Decipher a code to learn about Fuzzy Friend’s favorite animal.
  • Understand that coding is a way to use letters, numbers, or symbols to give instructions.

What You’ll Need

Hands-on

  • Physical object to represent Fuzzy Friend, as students move through the grid; this could be a plastic counter, a penny, or a small cube

Minds-on

  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving

Introduce students to coding with this unplugged activity where students learn to decipher code to communicate with their Fuzzy Friend.  Students begin by sharing a few of their experiences with the entire class about times when they felt they that others could not understand them. By building a common ground at the outset, students begin to empathize with Fuzzy Friend’s plight.

  • What happened if you did not follow the arrows correctly?
  • How would you fix the problem if you didn’t solve the code the first time?
  • How do you think Fuzzy Friend feels now that we understand his code?

For Students

  • Coding Extension:
    • Have students use the Independent Code Extension grids and arrows to create their own special codes for a classmate to solve:

For Teachers

  • Coding Extension:
    • Discuss and explore different types of coding on Code.org or ScratchJr (iPad/tablet/Chromebook app only).
  • Social Studies Extension:
    • Read Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story—written by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes—to students. This 32-page picture book is a biography about Chester Nez, one of the Navajo men who was recruited in World War II to create an unbreakable military code.
  • Literature Extensions:
    • Read Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems to students.
    • Read Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by Linda Liukas to students.
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