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The Intelligent Piece of Paper

In this activity from the CS4FN team, learners are introduced to algorithms in the context of artificial intelligence. They are challenged to beat a ‘piece of paper’ at a game of noughts and crosses. By following a simple algorithm, the piece of paper becomes very difficult to beat. The algorithm is a sequence of...

Scratch Beginners

This unit of six lessons does not assume any prior programming knowledge and covers the following guidelines in the National Curriculum:

*Design - write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller...


A ten-lesson sequence progressing from the basics of Scratch through to creating simple games. It includes:

*drawing shapes and using repeats
*accepting keyboard input to control the movement of sprites
*planning algorithms using flow diagrams and executing them in Scratch
*importing and...

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...

Beautiful Numbers

This lesson or enrichment activity investigates recursive algorithms using Fibonacci series.

It begins with an engaging maths magic trick ‘how to fake a super brain’ that uses a special property of Fibonacci numbers, and proceeds to look at the Golden Ratio in nature and its ‘beautiful’ properties.


Crazy Graphics

This workshop investigates how images are stored as data, and shows the difference that ‘bit depth’ makes to the quality of images and number of colours.

It begins by looking at paintings and how, using only paint, images were difficult to edit – however digital images are much easier. Pupils with access to...

Cryptography Workshop

This set of activities introduces children to cryptography techniques, showing how the use of computers can make encryption quicker and more effective. Some notable examples of the use of encryption in history are mentioned, leading to the use of calculation machines for code-making and code-breaking.


Generating Art: Shape Calculator

This resource, intended for an extended workshop session, uses sequences of instructions for creating drawings as a basis for learning about algorithms. Following the activity (taken from the series CSUnplugged), an introductory look at Scratch explores the different parts of the program and would be suitable for...


This series of three lesson activities uses Scratch to create animations that tell a story, and can link to studies in English.

A starter Scratch file partially tells the story of the Great Fire of London. Additional resources are provided allowing children to improve the animation.

Using some short...

Bee-Bots 1,2,3 Programming Activity

This activity for younger children introduces algorithms and algorithmic thinking. After first planning how to draw numbers using the simple commands available, children then program a BeeBot to create the shapes (BeeBots are a type of simple programmable rover).

By watching and feeding back on each other's...


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