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Lego Building Algorithm Activity

In this adaptable lesson plan children create a simple model (out of Lego or similar) and then take photos to create instructions (an algorithm) for other children to recreate their model. By removing one block at a time they are decomposing the problem into manageable steps. Teachers may wish to split this lesson...

Bee-Bots Basics

This introduction to using the small programmable robot, the BeeBot, introduces children to creating simple programs. They learn the importance of sequences of accurate instructions, and test their sequences out using a 'fakebot' or paper-robot. Children are encouraged to debug and develop their sequences before...

Spelling Rules

Using spellings of familiar words this Barefoot Computing unplugged computing activity for younger primary children introduces algorithms as rules that are followed, and which may require decisions and exceptions. From the Barefoot Computing project, this short lesson asks children to deduce spelling rules uses...

Life in a Can

A cross-curricular resource for primary and lower secondary schools that investigates life and how it can be maintained in the harsh atmosphere of space.

The engineers and scientists who built the International Space Station are faced with huge challenges - everything needed to keep astronauts alive must be...

My school day: introducing computer science ideas at KS1

This flexible activity could be used for introducing a number of computer science ideas:

  • Abstraction: before introducing these cards, can the children draw or verbalise a simplified day in their life?
  • Sequences: can the children put the events in order?
  • Decomposition: can the children...

Printable Scratch Blocks for Programming Unplugged

The resource includes Scratch blocks which can be printed and laminated to allow children to create block algorithms visually and in a hands-on way. A great resource to introduce the idea of Scratch blocks to Key Stage One students in the hope that they will become familiar with the system when they reach Key Stage...

Scratch junior

ScratchJr is an introductory programming language that enables young students to create their own interactive stories and games. Students snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. Students can modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds,...

Printable Scratch blocks

Two different sets of printable Scratch blocks that could be used for display or for unplugged programming in upper key stage 1 classrooms as an introduction to programming.

Alec Jackson is the author of the Scratch block cutouts resource.

James Holmes, Gary Setchell, Keith Madderson and Cobie van de...

Guess the algorithm

A simple and easily adaptable idea to introduce how algorithms work by allowing students to work out algorithms by a guessing game without the use of a computer. The activity is based on function machines that are used in mathematics at primary school but the level of difficulty can be amplified depending on what...

Are computers clever?

This activity is designed to assess whether or not children understand that although computers can sometimes look clever, they do not actually display any intelligence. They are asked to compare a computer with a human and then describe how both the computer and the human cope with the unexpected.

Theresa...

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