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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...

The Emotion Machine

By creating their own paper ‘robot face’, students learn about how high-level language is translated into low-level machine instructions.

The resource, created by Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan of the CS4FN team, covers sequencing in programs, compilers and interpreters. A detailed instruction sheet guides...

Tour Guide (Companion to the Knight’s Tour Activity)

Containing two linked activities, these resources from the CS4FN team introduce graphs to represent inter-related data and algorithms to negotiate them.

Suitable for non-programmers being introduced to algorithms, the two challenges – the Knights Tour and the Tour Guide – are similar. Both use graphs as...

The Magic of Computer Science III

The third collection of magic tricks, from Paul Curzon and Peter McOwan, is entitled ‘magic meets mistakes, machines and medicine. The five card tricks contained make use of maths and computer science theory, and are used by real magicians.

Each trick includes magician’s instructions. The theory behind each...

Pair Programming in a Box

This guide for teachers aims to help them introduce pair-programming to coding in the classroom. This collaborative approach has been found to improve engagement and can result in higher-quality work than programming alone. The guide is aimed at teachers of college students, but the approaches can easily be adapted...

Creative Computing with Scratch

This resource from the MIT team where Scratch originated consists of a teacher guide and student workbook.

The teacher guide begins with the very basics, for those who have never used the programming environment. Using videos and...

An Introduction to Python (v2.7 and v3)

This learning resource is an introduction to programming with Python. Versions are included for Python 2.7 and Python 3.

The fundamentals of programming are covered:
• Arithmetic operations
• Data types
• Control flow

As well as some more advanced techniciques including the use of:...


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