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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...

Python 3 Cheat Sheet

This cheat sheet provides guidance to inexperienced Python programmers. It covers several of the most-used functions, operations and data types including:

• User interaction
• Boolean logic
• String handling and manipulation
• Assigning and using variables
• Loops
• Using simple...

An Introduction to Python (v2.7 and v3)

This learning resource is an introduction to programming with Python. Versions are included for Python 2.7 and Python 3.

The fundamentals of programming are covered:
• Arithmetic operations
• Data types
• Control flow

As well as some more advanced techniciques including the use of:...

Australian Magician's Dream

Made up of two complementary activities, these resources from the CS4FN team go deeper into theory about search algorithms.

The first activity involves the teacher leading a magic trick using some normal playing cards. In the subsequent explanation of the trick, students are asked to consider the pseudocode...

Box Variables

This unplugged activity, from the CS4FN team at Queen Mary University of London, helps learners to understand variable assignment and operations. They use the idea of variables as boxes as the basis of a group activity, developing their use of logical thinking to trace variables through programs.

The...

Brain in a Bag

This unplugged activity from Peter McOwan and Paul Curzon mingles computer science with biology. A group activity is used that mimics the firing of neurons within the brain. These trigger other neurons to fire – these can be compared to AND gates in logic circuits.

The ‘brain in a bag’ kits used in the...

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...

What Can We See From Space?

This short activity introduces students to the ideas of the footprint and resolution of an image, asking them to choose and use appropriate methods to calculate how these quantities would change as they moved a camera to a series of vantage points above the surface of the Earth

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