Resource Material for the IT PGCE:
Logo and on-screen control

This page gives activities and resources for the 'Developing ideas and making things happen' session in which you use Logo to draw a variety of shapes on the screen.

Learning objectives About this session Products of the session
At the Institute    
Task Timetable Links to other sessions
In the classroom    
Misconceptions Classroom examples Teaching point
Other Resources    
DfEE Schemes of work Software links and tutorials Books/Papers


Learning objectives

The learning objectives for this session are that by the end of it you should:

  1. know basic Logo commands;
  2. be able to write procedures in Logo which involve variables and repeats;
  3. understand the link between writing Logo procedures and developing pupils capability in the 'Developing ideas' strand of the IT National Curriculum;
  4. know one example of differentiation by task
  5. .

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

About this session

In this session, you meet the only programming language most children will use up to the age of 16 - Logo. This language was originally developed by Papert at MIT and is used in both primary and secondary schools. Today's exercise has three aims: to introduce you to the use of Logo as a way of developing the 'control' aspect of IT capability; to develop your personal expertise in the use of Logo; and to illustrate one form of differentiation. It will take one morning at the Institute followed by a day of directed study time, during which you will write four sets of procedures of increasing complexity and a lesson plan to teach this aspect of IT to KS3.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

Products of the session

This is a link to the index of the sets of procedures and this is a link to the index of lesson plans.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

At the Institute

The task

You are to write four sets of procedures to draw the shape below – each set achieves the same result but by increasingly sophisticated means.
  1. Set 1 should include only the commands: PU, PD, FD, and RT.
  2. Set 2 should include only the commands used in set 1, break the task down into smaller bits and use procedures to draw each of these bits.
  3. Set 3 should reduce the length of the procedures in set 2 by use of the Repeat command.
  4. Set 4 should reduce the number of procedures used in set 3 by inputting variables.

While completing this task, you should make a careful note of the difficulties and misconceptions you faced.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

The timetable

At 9:30 there will be an introduction to Logo and groups will be allocated. Each group will then have until 12:30 to write the four sets of procedures.

At 12:30 there will be a discussion of the task and the difficulties you faced in completing it.

During the directed study day, you should write a plan for a lesson to teach this aspect of IT to KS3 (use the lesson planning pro-forma) in which you plan for differentiation by task.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

Links to other sessions

The lesson planning activity builds on the session of the previous week. The use of Logo to teach the 'Control' section of the IT NC is further developed in the 'Developing ideas 2' session.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

In the classroom


Misconceptions are not the same as mistakes. A mistake is where for example one types in the number 0 instead of the letter O, (e.g. writing 0FF rather than OFF) while a misconception is where something is misunderstood - or understood in a different way to the one intended. Very often a misconception will be understood intuitively - that is, it will follow from an unstated belief about 'the way the world is' rather than being the product of well thought through reasoning.

Some common misconceptions in this area which have been held by both BTs and pupils are:

  1. Thinking that the name of a procedure matters. Young children will often think that a procedure will draw a square if and only if it is called 'square'. The misconception is that it is the name that gives the procedure its power rather than the sequence of instructions.
  2. Not understanding that a computer needs explicit instructions for everything. An example here is that when pupils write a procedure to control traffic lights (ending with the green light on) they may not tell the green light to switch off at the end of the procedure - and so it will stay on. The misconception here is that procedures reset to their initial state when they restart or repeat.
  3. Misunderstanding some common commands. For examples pupils will often use the instruction "IF INPUT 1 IS ON THEN STOP" when what is required is "WAIT UNTIL INPUT 1 IS ON STOP". The misconception here is of the nature of the command - how it works.
  4. These last two misconceptions can be combined. For example pupils often write "REPEAT" at the top of a sequence of instructions and do not put an "END REPEAT" instruction at the end. This is due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the 'repeat' command, in particular that one needs explicitly to tell a computer what to repeat - and how many times.

See also the misconceptions section of the 'Constructing a computer-controlled model' page.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

Classroom examples

You should have a look at the lesson plans and student worksheets for a unit of five lessons planned and taught by Elizabeth Doyle.

Elizabeth has also produced a booklet (a zipped file) and a scheme of work for Logo in Year 8.

Over his Easter vacation, a year 8 pupil taught by Nabil Hassani produced a set of procedures to make the picture shown opposite - and after only two lessons! You can download his set of procedures (for MSW Logo) and examine them. Type 'house' to draw the house.

The pupil has used nested procedures and repeats, but not variables (remember he had had only two lessons in Logo), and when you examine his code you might think whtether it could be written more efficiently.

At the end of the project the pupil produced an interesting evaluation of his work.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

Teaching point

In this session, you look at one way to differentiate by task. This example is interesting because the product as seen on the screen or page is the same whatever set of procedures is used to make it - but in another important sense the outcome is very different when different kinds of procedure are used. When you write lesson plans, you need to think how to allocate different tasks to different groups thinking about questions such as: Do the pupils all start the same with some tasks as extensions? Are different groups set different tasks from the outset? Are different tasks introduced infomally as you go round the class? How will you build on the variety of tasks in the following lessons?

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

Other Resources

The DfEE Schemes of Work

You should look at the following units of the DfEE schemes of work:

Key Stage 2: unit 2D, Routes; unit 4E, Modelling effects on screen;

Key Stage 3: unit 6, 'Control - input, process and output'.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page


There are many books and articles written about pupils' use of Logo. The classic starter is Seymour Papert's 'Mindstorms' (Institute library reference Mim Loz PAP).

The Institute's maths department is a world leader in researching the use of Logo in the teaching of mathematics so there are over 70 books and dissertations in the library which you can find by searching on 'Logo'.

Return to the top of the pageReturn to the top of the page

Return to IT PGCE Home PageBack to PGCE Information Technology Home Page
Back to Institute of Education Home PageBack to Institute of Education Home Page

This page is maintained by Tim Brosnan. Please send any comments to:
Last updated on 14th June 2001 .