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Grades 2-5
4, 5
Grades 6-8

Katka PołomPETE

Winter full of lights: extraordinary winter holidays

programming • history
Duration time:
90 min.
Programming interface:
Scratch 3.0 (Photon Magic Bridge)
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Class goal:

  • To learn about unique features of winter season traditions from around the globe
  • To find common/shared features for the presented celebrations
  • To learn how to perform a web research
  • To learn how to program the Photon Robot as per the activity goals
  • To learn how to become a team player
  • To practice creative thinking

Teaching methods:

  • Researching
  • Cognitive
  • Activating

Required items:

  • Tablets or smartphones with access to the Internet
  • Cards with symbols for the dreidel game (Attachment 2)
  • Desktop or laptop with access to the Internet
  • Sheets of paper
  • Pencils, markers


Attachmen1: Overview of the winter holidays Download
Attachmen 2: Cards with symbols for the dreidel game
Attachment 3: Drejdel (Scratch project)
Attachment 4: Santa Lucy (Scratch project)

Lesson scenario:

1. Preparations:

  • Please get familiar with the presentation and attachments. Attachment 1 is a knowledge repository necessary to conduct this class. There are links to external reference material.
  • Print out the attachment “Dreidel – symbols.”
  • Alternatively: play dreidel for candies, cookies, or nuts. These would get students motivated to learn about computer programming. 
  • Optional: design a simple crown for the feast of Saint Lucy and several festive accessories for Krampus. Keep your students occupied, suggest accessories they could make themselves.

2. Introduction

Most people, especially in the Western culture and Europe, associate the winter holiday season with Santa Claus, elves, and cheerful songs on the radio, a very bright Christmas tree, and of course… an advertisement for a famous soft drink. 

However, the beauty and diversity of winter celebrations in other cultures are delightfully surprising and astonishing. Would you like to get familiar with several of them?

3. Overview of selected traditions and celebrations

Using the information from Attachment 1, present selected traditions to your students. Use the links provided or engage students to find additional information on the Internet. It would be beneficial to present images or videos of these traditions.

4. Programming

Programming robots (from 1 to 8) using Photon Magic Dongle and Scratch 3.0 interface.

Task 1. 

Depending on the number of robots at your disposal and the time you have allocated for this task, choose one or two from the following tasks. You can divide the children into groups or ask them to work together on two consecutive tasks.

A. Photon – dreidel

Prepare a script in Scratch that turns your Photon Robot into a spinning top (the dreidel). Then play dreidel with the group (the game rules are in our presentation or on the Internet). To complete this task, you only need one robot connected to your desktop computer or a laptop via the Photon Magic Dongle.

The sample script is below. The four Hebrew letters are written on separate paper notes and put on the floor around the robot. When the robot stops spinning, it indicates a random Hebrew letter. Ready-made cards with these letters are in the attachments. 

The activity in practice. 

B. Saint Lucy, here she comes

Prepare several Photon robots (from 3 to 8) and the Photon Magic Dongle to program them to participate in the Saint Lucy procession. Remember to use the robot’s in-built sensors. The script can be easily prepared in Scratch 3.0.

Sample script: 

C. Bringing Krampus to life

How do you bring Krampus back to life? Use the information in the presentation, search the web and create a script that will help you act out a Slavic folklore play – a group of people (carol singers and the Krampus) goes from house to house singing carols at Christmas. During singing and wild dances, Krampus falls down to the floor from exhaustion... and the rest of the carol singers try to revive the collapsed creature.

Or maybe you have other ideas for using the Photon robot, accessories, and programming interfaces inspired by the theme of this activity plan? Let your imagination go wild but don’t forget to share your ideas and results with us!

Good luck! :-)


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