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Section Title Primary information Description and Notes Suggested resources
Lesson Length The expected lesson length will be approximately one hour

Some variation possible.

Assessment Level 1

Students The lesson is suitable for KS3 and KS4 students Since this is a new specification, the lesson is suitable for Year 7 to 9 students and differentiated by outcome  
Overall Focus The lesson focus will be to introduce how algorithms work in computers, and also to look at how instructions are used The lesson will begin to look at how students can write their own instructions and control computers, as well as look at algorithms to abstract ideas and data more easily

Lesson Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Key words algorithm, abstraction, programming language, instruction, open source, digital, file types, variable These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  
Assessment Write algorithms for everyday tasks Evidence here will be the students beginning to grasp the idea of routines and instructions that help them achieve things, like going to school.  Observations and portfolio evidence will work for assessment.  
Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics Some questions and examples will get the students thinking about what they understand by algorithms.  The word itself might be initially confusing, but they will soon understand how it relates to what they do and is just routines. Why do computers need instructions and routines?  What is a computer program?  What routines do they go through every day.  How can they do these without thinking hard about them all of the time?
Learning Objectives
  • To understand and appreciate the use of routines and instructions  in computer models
  • To describe and explain, with examples, how everyday tasks can be explained with algorithms
  • To understand how algorithms are devised and used

Students will need to understand algorithms in basic terms that they can apply more rigorously in later lessons

Students need to start thinking about how important routines are to all of their activities.

If you are using the Learning Machine learning system, students can add their comments and material to this site as evidence of their growing understanding.  The site, if used consistently, will show progression via charts of activity and outcomes.
Teaching and Learning Elements
  • Introduction to the idea of algorithms to try and make it accessible
  • A teacher led demonstration of real world examples to reinforce the idea
  • Students can break into groups and work on their own ideas about the term
  • Class discussion and evaluation of the wider uses of instructions and routines
  • Summarize the key points and reinforce the importance of algorithms

In this lesson we need to make sure students have a good understanding of algorithms and how they can understand it in terms of what they do every day.  This knowledge can then be transferred to how it is used in computing.

Use some of the student's own work examples share with the group and discuss the quality of the examples chosen.  Check for understanding.

Lesson Structure Possible structure
  1. introduce examples and overviews of routines and instructions
  2. show students some more examples of routines and link these to the term algorithm
  3. group work to work on some of their own views and examples
  4. discuss what they have learned and what they can apply
  5. volunteers to share their work and explain how they came to their opinions
  6. highlight next week's focus and issue homework

The key here, is to move from the concrete to the abstract, in a way.  Introduce the idea of routines and instructions and make sure all students understand this, before moving to the use of the same idea in computing as algorithms.  Try to show a basic computer program.

Use the resources on CS Unplugged logo

such as the Battleship game to show how routines and instructions are very familiar and all around them.

Try and learn this engaging action.

You can get them to write instructions for each other and try them out, such as a set of instructions for one student to leave the room.  It is harder than it sounds, as long as the target student only responds to the instructions exactly.

There are some good examples for more kinesthetic activities here.

Remind students of the correct method for writing instructions in flow-charts and using the correct symbols.

Homework Get students to write a set of basic instructions.  For example how a traffic light works, or how they get to school. Students can vary their homework depending on their level of understanding.  Some can be told to do it with 5 instructions, more able with 20 etc. Get students to document their experience on their portfolio system for assessment


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