The Imp Computer

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This unplugged activity from the CS4FN team uses two examples – an insulting computer and one that can play snap – to look at simple computer programming, flow of control and logic. Everything is provided for this front-of-class activity, which would act as an effective starter for a lesson on programming concepts.

A high-level program is ‘compiled’ into a series of low-level instructions, carried out by ‘imps’ as found in Terry Pratchett novels. Terms such as ‘compile time’ and ‘run time’ are explained while the activity, involving ropes and tubes, continues.

A detailed explanation is provided for the teacher of control flow and of the compilation process. Several extension activities are suggested for different student interests, along with further reading suggestions.

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