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Coding Fractured Fairy Tales

Lesson Plan

Pentland: Coding Fractured Fairy Tales

In this lesson, students will craft their own fractured fairy tales and code their robots for specific actions as it follows the path of their story.


Computer Science

English / Language Arts


Middle School

High School


Students will develop a new fractured fairy tale by changing a story element or two.

Students will create a storyboard of their new story.

Students will code their robots to do actions as they travel the plot of their new story.


Picture book examples of fractured fairy tales:

  • The Three Little Superpigs by Claire Evans (Scholastic 2016)
  • Ninja Chicks by Rebecca J. Gomez, Corey Rosen Schwartz (Scholastic 2016)
  • Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar and Troy Cummings (Scholastic 2015)
  • The Three Silly Billies by Margie Palatini and Barry Moser (Simon & Schuster 2005)
  • Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Dan Santat (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers 2014)
  • The Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel (HMH Books for Young Readers 2011)
  • Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt (Scholastic 2015)

Ozobots (or another programmable robot like Sphero or Dash)

Large white paper. Black, red, blue, and green markers.

Coding Fractured Fairy Tales worksheet


Three to five class periods; approximately 40-50 minutes each period


Instructional Note: This lesson would probably work best in person, but it could be adapted for online environments. Students could create their story maps digitally. The teacher could print it out and run the robot through the course while students narrate the story.

Day 1

Brainstorm a list of fairy tales. Here are some examples:

Hansel & Gretel Aladdin Sleeping Beauty
Cinderella Jack & the Beanstalk Rumplestiltskin
Princess & the Pea Rapunzel 3 Little Pigs
Little Red Riding Hood Thumbelina Beauty & the Beast
Snow White Little Mermaid Elves & the Shoemaker
Goldilocks & the 3 Bears Frog Prince Tortoise & the Hare

As a class, map the plot of one of the traditional stories. You could use a typical plot map like the one below or make a list of the plot points.

Pick the story that the fractured fairy tale picture book you plan to read is based on. For example, choose Little Red Riding Hood if you plan on reading Ninja Red Riding Hood.

Introduce the term "fractured fairy tale," and explain that it describes altering a traditional fairy tale by changing one of the main elements (character, setting, or plot).

Read your chosen fractured fairy tale picture book. As a class, in small groups, or with partners, map the plot of fractured fairy tale.

Compare to the original story

Day 2

On their own, in pairs, or in small groups, students will select a fairy tale to rewrite.

Students will need to choose at least one element to change, but the original story needs to be recognizable within their fractured tale.

They can use Table A in the worksheet to help direct their story creation. Students could highlight or circle the story elements they have changed.

Next, students will need to write out their plot points for their story and include them in Table B of the provided worksheet. The plot point/script column is where students will add the text of their story. This replaces the traditional paragraph format.

Students can add as many rows for each section as needed for their story. Students could also add in hand-drawn pictures or pictures they find online that fit their story.

Day 3

Share how the Ozobots (or your chosen robot) work. For Ozobots, talk about how the robot follows the line and the different color codes make the robot do different actions. You could watch a video of your robot type in action from YouTube.

Explain the color codes for Ozobots using the Color Code Reference tool from ( The color codes are how students will program their robots to do certain actions. Discuss how the color codes could be used to illustrate elements in a story.

Have students give examples of how the color codes could be used in different stories. To avoid using one of the stories students might have selected, you can use nursery rhymes instead. For example, when Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall, what action could the robot take?

Next, students will use Table C in the worksheet to add color codes for their Ozobots for the different plot points in the story. They can add in the term for the color code or draw it out by hand or digitally. Next, students should explain how the color code fits with the plot point in the story.

Day 4–5

Once the chart is complete, students could do a test run of their color codes with their Ozobot before completing the map of their story on a large white sheet of paper.

They will draw a black line for the Ozobot to follow inserting the color codes for each of the plot points. Students can add in the pictures and text from their charts for each of the plot points.

Once their story map is complete, students can share their stories with their classmates. Students can verbally narrate the story as the Ozobot journeys through their story map. If students are working in groups or pairs, students should take turns narrating the different plot points. If time allows when they are finished telling their story, students could share why they chose the color codes for their Ozobot, or other groups could guess the meaning of the robot's actions.


Formative: Provide feedback throughout the process as students are working to identify the elements of the story they plan on changing as well as their development of the plot points and color codes.

Summative: A final grade could be given for the presentation at the end based on meeting the requirements for fracturing their fairy tale and for explaining why they chose the color codes for the robot for each plot point.


Get more ideas about creating connections between literacy and coding in Courtney Pentland's editorial, "Coding & Literacy: A Logical Partnership" and in Ashley Cooksey's Elementary lesson, "Coding Through Picture Books."

About the Author

Courtney Pentland, MEd, is the Curriculum Connection Editor for School Library Connection. She is the school librarian for North Star High School in Lincoln, NE, adjunct faculty for the University of Nebraska-Omaha Library Sciences program, and a board member for the Nebraska School Librarians Association. She earned her master's in secondary education and master's endorsement in K-12 library science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

MLA Citation

Pentland, Courtney. "Coding Fractured Fairy Tales." School Library Connection, October 2020,

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Entry ID: 2258831