Coding Express Set

Math - Distance

In this lesson students will understand how to measure distance, be able to compare distances and be able to do simple math.

30-45 min.


  • Review this lesson plan and choose what you need from the Teacher Support box.

  • If necessary, pre-teach these related vocabulary words: measure, distance, step, compare, vehicles, reverse.

  • Consider the abilities and backgrounds of all your students and decide when and how to introduce and differentiate lesson content, activities, or concepts.

  • This lesson is designed to be used with the Coding Express app. Download the app for student devices at

  • To use this lesson without the Coding Express app, see the unplugged version.


  • Talk to the students about distance.

  • Ask questions like:

    • How did you get to school today?
    • Why do you think some people walk or bike while others take the bus?
    • Would you like to play a game?
  • Choose two or three spots around the classroom to be “train stops.”

  • Name the stops.

  • Ask the students to walk from one stop to the next and count how many steps they’ve walked.

  • Compare the number of steps between each of the stops.

  • Talk about which distance is longer and why.



  • Have the students pick building cards and work together to build the models shown (three models are suggested).

  • Ask them to build a double-ended track and place their models alongside it.

  • Now experiment with the app.

  • Let’s start the train!

  • Ask the students how many numbers they’ve seen in the app. Can they count from the smallest number to the biggest?

  • Press each number and see how far the train moves.

  • Have the students pick the number(s) that will help the train reach each stop

Tip: Make sure the engine is connected to the app before experimenting with the different numbers.


  • Talk to the students about distance.

  • Ask questions like:

    • Why do people use different vehicles like bikes, cars, and airplanes?
    • When do people take airplanes or buses?
    • When do they walk or bike?


  • Encourage the students to build more stops and decide the distance between them.

  • Ask questions like:

    • Which distance is the shortest/longest between the stops and how long is it?
    • Can you describe the path of the train’s journey? (e.g., it started from…, stopped or passed…, and ended at…)


  • Ask guiding questions to elicit students’ thinking and their decisions while ideating, building and programming.

Observation Checklist

  • Review the learning objectives and educational standards addressed in this lesson (Teacher Support box).

  • Share specific student responses and behaviors at different levels of mastery.

  • Use the following checklist to observe students’ progress:

    • Students can create and describe a sequence of events.
    • Students can predict the expected outcome of the sequence of events, with prompting.
    • Students can compare two distances using descriptive words like longest, shortest.

More Ideas

  • Use this lesson’s format to work with Longer Distances and explore more numbers with your kindergartners!

Teacher Support

Students will:

  • Understand how to measure distance
  • Be able to compare distances
  • Be able to do simple math

For up to four students

  • Coding Express set (45025)

  • Coding Express App

  • CSTA 1A-AP-12 Develop plans that describe a program’s sequence of events, goals, and expected outcomes.


  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.