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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...

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

Automatic Lighting

This longer-duration activity involves prototyping a low-power lighting system. It could be used in an off-timetable workshop or across a series of lessons.

Students are challenged to work through the whole design process, and to place a micro-controller (in this case a BBC micro:bit) at the centre of the...

Bag Alarm

This activity, suitable for a multi-lesson sequence or a single extended session, challenges students to design and prototype a simple motion-sensing alarm. The device is intended to prevent theft or the accidental picking-up of a bag.

Motion is sensed using the accelerometer built-in to the BBC micro:bit,...

Flood Warning System

After learning about flooding, students consider the design problems caused by its early detection. Students are introduced to moisture sensors, and can build their own using the instructions provided or use a ready-made version. This is connected to the BBC micro:bit and used as an input device. After processing...

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