Abstraction Unplugged

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This short activity for primary school computing uses art to introduce the concept of abstraction. During a ‘guess what’ game the children are asked to represent a word on a card using drawing or modelling – in doing so they unconsciously concentrate on just the most important aspects of the idea they are representing. The teacher draws out the thinking behind their representations and then leads discussion of computer software that represents complex real systems such as a driving game. By highlighting what is included in the computer model and what isn’t, the idea of abstraction is embedded.

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