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Assignment Dry Run

This activity, available in three different programming languages, requires students to ‘dry run’ written code and work out what it does. This is a useful skill for programming, which tests their understanding of assignment and subsequent changes to variables within programs. They step through code and analyse the...

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...

Computing without Computers

This textbook takes an ‘unplugged’ approach to learning the critical concepts in computer science. It relies heavily on metaphors as a means for readers to grasp new topics and relate them to their current understanding. It also contains puzzles which aid understanding.

The book includes chapters covering...

The Four Aces

This magic trick from the Computer Science for Fun team at QMUL shows that computing is about more than just programming and computational thinking is about more than just algorithms.

A simple mathematical approach is taken with dealt piles of cards – this allows the dealer to control the whereabouts of the...

The Scratch Patch

This introduction to programming in Scratch uses a trivial example to demonstrate simple audio and animation. It is written for Scratch 1.4 but can be easily adapted for later versions. 

The Scratch patch - making a simple game

This practical guide to creating a simple game is aimed at those new to programming with Scratch 1.4 or above. It develops a basic Frogger game and introduces collision detection, a key element of many games.

The Scratch patch - make a Simon game

This game-writing activity using Scratch will bring back youthful memories for some! It provides easy-to-follow instructions on how to recreate the memory game Simon on-screen. It includes reusable game elements such as score keeping and audio generation.

The Scratch patch - bubble sort algorithm

This short practical guide shows how to implement a bubble sort algorithm in Scratch. The procedure is easy to follow, and can be used in conjunction with theory or unplugged activities to aid understanding.

Python for Key Stage 2

This short scheme of work, from Jon Chippindall, introduces upper-primary children to text-based programming using Python. It assumes some previous experience of visual programming using Scratch, Kodu or similar, and will provide the skills and knowledge needed to write short programs.

The six lessons, which...

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