Grade 2


Computational Thinker
School project in diagram map


Computational thinking assists students to break down problems into smaller parts so that it is easier to understand and solve them. In all disciplines, students have problems to solve. Learning to use decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction and algorithm design will help students reach success in all projects. Students can use computational thinking while working on a school project to coding and programming a game. The terms are difficult for a 2nd grader to learn, but they should begin learning the main concepts of computational thinking. In this task card, the focus will be on decomposition. 

computational thinking

Created by Jo Culf

Students will:

  • Be able to break down a problem into small chunks. 
  • Understand the first step of computational thinking.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Decomposition: Decomposition is breaking something into smaller chunks or steps. 

To prepare for this lesson:

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. The teacher will introduce computional thinking to the class. Explain that computational thinking is a way to understand and solve problems. 
  2. The teacher will introduce the term decompose to the students and explain that decomposition is to break a problem into chunks or steps to solve it. 
  3. The teacher will give the students a problem to solve. Students should answer questions like:
    • What is the ultimate goal?
    • What kind of materials are needed?
    • What are the steps needed to complete the task?
    • How might the steps be completed? 
  4. Students will work in groups to come up with the materials and steps needed to complete the task. 
  5. Students will write the steps out and share with the rest of the class. 
  6. The teacher will explain that they just decomposed or broke a problem into steps. 


  • Students will brainstorm other problems to solve and steps that are needed to solve or complete the task. 
  • Students will have a puzzle to solve with a partner. 

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Create a simple rubric for students to help them in the decomposition process. 

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Computational Thinker
5a. Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.
5c. Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

Computational Thinking Video

Decomposition in the Classroom Video

Google For Education lessons on Computational Thinking

  • Students decompose a riddle. 
  • Students decompose a short story to better understand it. 

Students solve math story problems. 

Students solve experiments. 

Students take a historical event and break down the event into chunks or a timeline. 

This task card was created by Melissa White, REMC Association of Michigan, February 2018.