This activity from the CS4FN team at QMUL is a metaphorical introduction to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and the difficulties of working at the command line.

The whole-class activity uses a game called spit-not-so. The winner of the game is the first to choose, from a short list, three words which all contain the same letter. Using a secret algorithm, the teacher then recreates the game on a hidden ‘noughts and crosses’ board. By reorganising the list into a different format it is made easier to work with – similar to why GUIs exist. It also demonstrates how data structures can make a significant difference to how easy the data is to manipulate.

Links are made between the activity and development of computational thinking skills. Extension activities and further reading are also suggested.

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