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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...

Sweet Learning Computer

To play a simple game called Hexapawn, an ‘artificially intelligent’ computer is created made entirely from sweets. The game is like a mini version of chess; the rules are explained fully, and a playing board drawn. The ‘machine’ then ‘learns’ how to improve its playing of the game by trial and error and by ‘...

Teleporting Robot

This CS4FN activity from the team at Queen Mary University of London highlights some issues encountered during the design of human-computer interfaces (HCI). It acts as an introduction to HCI, introducing the need to translate problems and to understand how people behave.

The activities include a robot...

Tour Guide (Companion to the Knight’s Tour Activity)

Containing two linked activities, these resources from the CS4FN team introduce graphs to represent inter-related data and algorithms to negotiate them.

Suitable for non-programmers being introduced to algorithms, the two challenges – the Knights Tour and the Tour Guide – are similar. Both use graphs as...

The Magic of Computer Science III

The third collection of magic tricks, from Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan, is entitled ‘magic meets mistakes, machines and medicine. The five card tricks contained make use of maths and computer science theory, and are used by real magicians.

Each trick includes magician’s instructions. The theory behind each...

Building Bots with LEGO

The BrickPi is an interface between the Raspberry Pi and LEGO Mindstorms or EV3 sensors and motors, a portable power source for the Raspberry Pi, and a case that allows you to attach LEGO motors, beams, sensors, and other parts.

This resource includes guidance on setting up and programming the Raspberry Pi...

Scratch Interface

This guide shows how the BrickPi can enable novice programmers to use Scratch to control complex robots and models.

The instructions need to be followed using Scratch on the Raspberry Pi computer. The resulting programs use different input and output devices, including touch and colour sensors and motors....

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