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An Introduction to Python (v2.1)

Python is a freely available programming language. This resource contains six sections:

The first section, Getting started, begins with a simple description of how to download and install a Python compiler onto a computer. The screenshots in the resource use a compiler called IDLE. There...

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...

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...

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...

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