Introduction to computational thinking and the Internet of Things

This one-hour lesson examines the design of IoT algorithms, considering how individual devices execute algorithms as code, allowing them to work together. The key aims are to develop computational thinking while raising awareness of the potential for future careers and enterprise.

The lesson starts with the basics, with inspiring video showcasing some of the exciting future directions it might take. Students then begin exploring ‘what is the internet of things?’ by examining ‘smart’ versions of technology with which they are already familiar, such as fridges, cars and mobile phones. They soon move to considering how devices interact in terms of data, and the behaviour of the devices across a network, to solve challenges in different fields such as health and fire safety. This results in the writing of pseudocode algorithms using everyday language, with an extension activity inviting students to create flowcharts using free online tools.

This lesson would form a sound foundation for more open-ended design challenges and prototyping. 

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My Year 10 students have just completed their challenge today. This activity was perfect for covering a number of units within the CS GCSE and demonstrating computational thinking skills and approaches.

David Longman

From the teacher's notes: " different algorithms run across an IoT system and govern the behaviour of each device"

Algorithms don't 'run'. Programs 'run'. Is this accurate?

Dave Gibbs

Hi David,
thanks for spotting this. You're correct - the text should in fact read 'algorithms are executed on devices across the IoT system'. Hopefully this will clarify for anyone who was confused by this.


I was preparing a session but I cannot find the templates for the different mats? Are they available somewhere?

Dave Gibbs

Hi, sorry that the version here is uneditable - i will ask for an editable version to be uploaded here asap.


Hi again maybe I did not make myself clear in the teachers guide when it refers:
"Hand out one work mat to each student group, along with two ‘device
cards’. You have been provided with a large selection of both IoT
scenarios (workmats) and IoT device cards – you may not choose to
use them all. " I thought that the workmats where like illustrations of different scenarios where the sensors (device cards) would be applied. Am I worng?

Dave Gibbs

the scenarios and sensors are listed in the teacher guide - these can be written onto the sheets. I am sourcing an editable version that can be pasted onto using the text in the teacher guide, but this will be a few days at least.