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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, as part of a series, will be introducing and consolidating the student's knowledge and practical application of abstraction. The notion of abstraction is central to computing, but not always easy for students to grasp.  The intention is to look at it in novel and understandable ways to make sure it is firmly understood

Lesson Links: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 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 abstraction, programming language, instruction, open source, digital, file types These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  

Develop abstractions to represent physical objects

Use data patterns to represent physical objects

Evidence can be provided here by showing the development of a drawing working from the abstract, i.e. shapes, to the concrete, a recognizable item.

Equally, evidence that students can work with patterns and understand why we need abstraction to make sense of the world

Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics There are some potentially difficult ideas here, but it should be possible to gently build on their understanding through clear worked examples Why do we use something like "abstraction"?  What is reduction?  Why is abstraction important, for example in weather forecasting?  Abstraction makes daily tasks and operations more manageable.  Try to explain everything you will do in the coming month in minute detail, it will take a month just to write!
Learning Objectives
  • To understand the key aspects of abstraction and be able to give examples of how and where it is used
  • To describe and explain, with examples, how data patterns and objects can be used to represent physical objects
Abstraction here will be an introduction to show that they may already be using it on other areas.  An abstraction is an idea that is not related to something concrete, but can be used to think about the concrete thing more freely.  For example, they may have experimented with abstract art in their art lessons, where colours ad shapes are said to represent something more familiar. 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 some examples of abstraction in the wider world, including a chance for student discussion on their understanding so far
  • A teacher led demonstration of using a graphics program to abstract an object
  • Students can break into groups and work on their own examples of abstraction
  • Class discussion and evaluation of the wider uses of abstraction
  • Summarize the key points and reinforce the importance of abstraction and representation

Can they give their own examples of abstraction?  One good example is money.  Money itself has no "real" value, but it's value is an abstract.  In the last instance, their money has value because the UK has reserves of gold in the Bank of England to be able to cope with the exchange of their money with something else of value.

In mathematics, we often use abstractions such as a pie or pizza with slices to represent fractions.

This rather philosophical idea is better explained and demonstrated using graphics since students can see how random objects can be used to create more concrete ideas.  For example, showing how a shape such as a circle can become a wheel, or a head of a snowman, or any other thing that consists of circles, or a triangle can represent a tree.

Get students to think about how they use abstractions, if they can, in other subject areas.   Formulae are a good way since most students should know some, such as E = mc2

Show students how abstract shapes, such as squares and triangles, can be used to represent concrete things like people, as in   Cartoon girlcartoons.

The main focus of the lesson should be to show them an example of abstraction, using the example of a circle becoming a wheel.

Once introduced, they can work in groups.

Note: You will need to explain the difference between vector and bitmap graphics and make sure they understand the key differences.

Lesson Structure Possible timings
  1. introduce the topic of abstraction
  2. check pupils understanding, perhaps a quick quiz (handout or learning site based)
  3. go over the key terms again and how they understand them in practice
  4. class based instruction and discussion on using shapes to represent other objects using something like Inkscape
  5. group work to brainstorm some of their own possible designs.  If time allows, get them to begin on the software.
  6. discuss what they have learned and what they can apply
  7. highlight next week's focus and issue homework

It would be useful before hand to have a vector based drawing program such as Inkscape added to your network

Show students simple abstractions to represent physical objects.

Begin drawing an object that is made of shapes.  At each stage ask if the class knows what it is.  Eventually it should be obvious.

Work in pairs. One person writes down the name of an object e.g. (Bus, Car, Person) and keeps it secret.

They then build a picture representing the physical object from simple shapes, one at a time. As each shape is added, partner guesses the object.

e.g. Draw a circle – what do you think it is? Add a hub? Could be a wheel. Add spokes –> a bicycle wheel.

TLM video icon

Move from paper to a vector drawing program such as Inkscape (Free and cross-platform) and Open Clip Art logo (library of royalty and license free pictures)

Teach children how to draw shapes and use them to build a picture. (This is object oriented drawing and a good background from which to introduce object oriented programming later)

You don't need to show all of this tutorial, but it gives a good idea of how abstract shapes make "real" objects.

There are many Inkscape tutorials on You Tube.  Use these as a starting point.  Students should be very familiar with drawing programs and should pick it up quickly.

Homework Create their own abstraction picture (a picture made of smaller objects) Students who don't have the appropriate software at home can draw the picture on paper. This is a very good Infogram on good use of the Internet as well as the pain of cyber bullying.  Students could create their own and they can be displayed in the IT rooms.


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