Lesson 1: What is an algorithm?

The word algorithm is introduced and defined through an interactive activity in the form of a set of instructions on how to dress a doll

Learning objective

  • To understand what an algorithm is

National curriculum links

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions
  • Create and debug simple programs
  • Use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Before the lesson

Download classroom resources

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: Give pupils the doll and clothes from the Activity: Doll and clothes already cut up.

Pupils working at greater depth: Should be challenged to work independently rather than in a group and should add more steps in their algorithm for the Activity: Crossing the road.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding


Created by:
Siobhan Morgan,  
Computing specialist
Head of Computing at Exeter Junior School, Siobhan Morgan has nine years of computing teaching experience as well as experience from her role of ‘Subject Genius for Computing’ on TES. Siobhán enjoys spending time with her family and searching for the Gruffalo…
Find out more