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Classroom Activities for the Busy Teacher: NXT

This sample of a teacher guide introduces basic robotics using Lego NXT hardware and software

The general nature as well as the origins of robotics are covered. NXT robots are then introduced, as well as some basic mathematical and other considerations for using robots in the classroom. The importance and...

Primary Computing Scheme of Work Sample

This introductory ‘unplugged’ activity looks at algorithms, and the need for clarity and precision. Children work in pairs, with one wearing a robot mask while the other provides instructions to move around a maze which has been laid out in a large space, such as the school hall.
Learners have their thinking...

Coding and Science: Animal Habitat Scenes

This lesson plan brings together science and computing. Using Scratch, children create a habitat scene for a particular animal. They then begin to program movements and other sequences of instructions.

Assessment guidance is included as well as ideas for differentiating the lesson.

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...

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...

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...

Stepometer

In this challenge, students are asked to evaluate an existing product – a step counter or pedometer – by using role play and by watching an accompanying video. They then create a step counter to encourage healthier lifestyles among teenagers.

It is based on a BBC micro:bit device which includes an...

Transport Displays

This activity, suitable for a cross-STEM project day or series of lessons, focuses on how information can be provided to travellers on the London Underground.

Students are asked to consider user needs – what information would they need to see, and how might their requirements be communicated? A deep...

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