Andrew McDonald▸ Task 6: Algorithms & Programming
In order to explore algorithms and the importance of following a correct sequence I have designed an activity in which students will create a series of instructions for a variety of tasks that a teacher or student could follow. Prior to students working together in pairs or groups, a discussion should occur to set the parameters of the activity. For instance, certain aspects of the instruction set could use similar concepts to Pseudocode to simplify how instructions are presented and clarify the component of the task being undertaken. This also ties the activity more closely to computational thinking. The goal of each instruction set/algorithm is for the teacher or other nominated individual (such as the school principal!) to successfully follow the procedure and complete a task. Tasks could involve finding a book on a shelf, locating a specific chair in a room, recording a video on a portable device or turning on and logging in to a computer. There are many options available for tasks, but for whichever task is set, students will need to develop a set of logical instructions that specifically and methodically allow a person to complete the task successfully. Students will have to consider the context of the situation to avoid assuming that the person following the instructions will have the necessary background knowledge. This will obviously allow for a discussion about implicit versus explicit instructions and also gets into the area of abstraction. A more advanced activity could have students developing an obstacle course for other student groups to follow with instructions about an action to complete at specific points in the course. An obvious follow-up to all of these activities would be teaching students how to use Scratch or something like the Lego Mindstorms NXT environment. #cserTask6
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