Most computer programs are written by huge teams! It is critical that each team member records their thinking with enough detail for other team members to be able to pick up where they left off. We’re going to practice collaborative programming through an activity called Design Recipe Telephone.

1. Prepare the class and the materials

Choose which set of word problems you are going to start with and print enough copies so that each student will get one word problem.

Divide the class into groups of three.

Give each student within each group a different word problem from the set.

Word Problem Set 1: Word Problem Set 2: Option 3:

★ Once completed, the set of functions generated from these word problems can be used to fix the code in this Collaboration Starter File - For use with Design Recipe Telephone Set 1. If all the functions are defined correctly, the starter file will then generate a cool image!

Use any of the practice word problems in the workbook that students haven’t solved before.

★ There is a large collection of math problems that would work well with the Design Recipe in the Additional Exercises section of our Solving Word Problems Using the Design Recipe lesson.

2. Describe the rules for the activity

  • In this activity, each person in your group will start with a different word problem. You will each be doing one step of each Design Recipe problem. After you complete your step, you will fold your paper to hide the part that you were looking at so that only your work and the rest of the recipe are visible. Then you will pass your work to the person to your right.

  • The person who has received your paper will review your work and complete the next step based solely on what you wrote down for them. If they don’t have the information they need, they will give the paper back to you for revision.

  • Meanwhile, you will receive a different problem from the person to your left. If at any point your realize that the person before you didn’t provide enough information, you may hand the paper back to them for revision.

Who’s Doing What During Each Round of Design Recipe Telephone?

Round 1 - Writing Contract and Purpose Statements from the Word Problem

Student 1 - Problem A

Student 2 - Problem B

Student 3 - Problem C

everyone folds over the previous section, and passes their paper to the right

Round 2 - Writing Examples based solely on the Contract and Purpose Statement

Student 1 - Problem C

Student 2 - Problem A

Student 3 - Problem B

everyone folds over the previous section, and passes their paper to the right

Round 3 - Writing Function Definitions based solely on the Examples

Student 1 - Problem B

Student 2 - Problem C

Student 3 - Problem A

3. Peer Review and Revision

Direct students to trade their Design Recipe with another group. In order to engage in the peer review, they should place their Design Recipe and their Design Recipe Rubric side-by-side.

1 Go through the checklist in the left-hand column to assess their CONTRACT. Check boxes or leave them blank depending on what you observe.

2 Once you have examined and analyzed the CONTRACT, read the descriptive text (either “Wow!” or “Getting there”) and check whichever one more accurately describes the work in front of you.

3 If the Design Recipe you’re reviewing is “getting there,” provide some descriptive feedback to help the student fix their work.

4 Repeat the process for the remaining sections of the Design Recipe.

4. Practice makes perfect!

This activity can be repeated several times, or done as a timed competition between teams. The goal is to emphasize that each step - if done correctly - makes the following step incredibly simple.

5. Synthesize

The Design Recipe is a way of slowing down and thinking through each step of a problem.

If we already know how to get the answer, why would it ever be important to know how to do each step the slow way?

  • Sample Responses: Someday we won’t be able to get the answer, and knowing the steps will help. We can help someone else who is stuck. We can work with someone else and share our thinking. We can check our work.

These materials were developed partly through support of the National Science Foundation, (awards 1042210, 1535276, 1648684, and 1738598). CCbadge Bootstrap by the Bootstrap Community is licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 Unported License. This license does not grant permission to run training or professional development. Offering training or professional development with materials substantially derived from Bootstrap must be approved in writing by a Bootstrap Director. Permissions beyond the scope of this license, such as to run training, may be available by contacting