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Data Representation: Bitmap Images

Using a spreadsheet as a grid of 'pixels', this computing activity teachers how 1's and 0's can store image data. The classroom exercises use images with increasing pixel resolution, looking at how this affects the clarity of the image. Moving from black-and-white images, the students then use grids of colour...

The First Programmable System

In this activity students explore why a water clock was the world's first programmable system. Programmable systems are by no means a modern invention. Many regard the first to be Ktesibios's water clock, which was invented approximately 2250 years ago.

The aim of this activity is that students apply what...

Writing a Flowchart

This engineering activity, suitable for children in computing lessons, looks at the basics of flowchart construction.

Simple examples, such as the decisions made by a dog chasing a stick, are used to make flowchart representation of algorithms accessible to younger children.

A simple design activity...

Hexahexaflexagon

This presentation, from Paul Curzon at QMUL, uses a folded paper geometric shape called a hexahexaflexagon to teach about abstraction, data representation and graph data structures, while encouraging computational thinking. A video (linked from within the presentation) shows how to make one of the geometrical...

The Imp Computer

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...

Invisible Palming

This activity from the Computer Science for Fun (CS4FN) team at QMUL is an introduction to algorithms suitable for those in upper primary school. A ‘self-working’ magic trick is shown – this is a trick that works every time, as long as the process is followed exactly. No understanding of the trick is needed by the...

Locked in Syndrome

These paired activities, from Paul Curzon of the CS4FN team, offer an interesting slant on search algorithms and their relative efficiency.

Students are asked to consider sufferers of ‘locked-in syndrome’, a condition that leaves a healthy mind inside body that is, often, completely paralysed. If the...

Red Black Mind Meld

This magic trick from the Computer Science for Fun (CS4FN) team at QMUL is based on a ‘self-working trick’. It includes a set of instructions which, so long as the commands are followed, works every time. It is, therefore, an algorithm.

The trick involves playing cards – the actual value of the cards is not...

Spit-Not-So

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...

Swap Puzzle

Using a set of simple ‘swap puzzles’, this CS4FN activity helps students to learn, fundamentally, what an algorithm is and how they can be made more efficient. Students are encouraged to create algorithms for solving the puzzles which can be used by future players to win, with no understanding of the game, in as...

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