Algorithmic design moves the problem from the modelling phase, to the operation stage. Algorithms take the form of a recipe or list of instructions that utilize efficiency and are written in such a way that they could allow for automation, or use of computers to execute tasks, or they could simply be followed by a human. This set of instructions should be sequential, complete, accurate and have a clear end point. If written for a computer the algorithm must be comprised of a series of tasks written in a way that a computer is able to perform.

This collection includes resources that will help in teaching algorithm design to your students.

 

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Students will explore algorithm design by creating oral algorithms, giving instructions for other students to follow to duplicate a model supplied by the teacher. Student-student interaction will foster community and help them analyze the effectiveness of their algorithms. Required: plastic interlocking bricks (ex: LEGO®), cards, or tangrams
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This activity allows the user to explore Venn Diagrams and their various applications. This activity would work well in groups of two for about thirty to forty-five minutes if you use the exploration questions and fifteen to twenty minutes otherwise. By Shodor.org. One simple instruction you likely give a computer almost daily is instructions for a search using an online search engine. You can use your knowledge of how to logically communicate with a computer to produce better search results! When creating instructions for a computer, you have to keep in mind the type of instructions a computer can follow--or computer programming logic--for example, Boolean logic. Boolean logic (named after George Boole) uses certain simple key terms to help the computer include or exclude subjects in its searches. These include: AND OR NOT AND NOT Venn diagrams provide a good visual when thinking about these operators. Try this Shape Sorter activity to understand even better. Choose your rule (instruction to the computer, or algorithm) and then try to arrange the shapes in the circles accordingly. Or, guess the rule the computer chooses for you.
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Handout with tips for internet searching. Follows Boolean Searching.
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Scratch

by Janet Pinto

Scratch is a fantastic application - free at scratch.mit.edu - for teaching students how to design algorithms as applied to a coding environment suitable for upper elementary, middle and high school students. (and adults!) See below for links to get started.
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The purpose of this lesson is to have students create flowcharts that describe an algorithmic process. Several curricular examples are provided, but the activity can be adapted to many mathematical topics. The main goal is to have students think critically about a process and be able to describe that process accurately in a flowchart. The curricular topic of the flowchart does not need to be overly complicated. Ideally, creation of the flowchart will challenge the students to consider ideas such as communication, efficiency, and completeness. Overview This is a one-day (or two-day, depending on how far you take the extensions) class activity in which students are introduced to algorithms and flowcharts using a card sorting algorithm from www.csunplugged.org and working through a sample flowchart (or two). Students then develop and share their own flowcharts describing an algorithm from their curriculum. Suggested areas are provided in the Teaching Notes section.
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Beebot Online

by Janet Pinto

Bee-Bot is a simple game for very young children to start to understand programming. Although geared toward children younger than Middle and High School, Bee-Bot can be used as a visual example to explain and practice decomposition.
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Bee Bot App

by Janet Pinto

The Bee-Bot App enables children to improve their skills in directional language and programming through sequences of forwards, backwards, left and right 90 degree turns. The app has been developed with 12 levels encouraging progression. Each level is timed and the faster it is completed the more stars you get! The levels are set in an engaging garden scenario and will appeal from age 4 upwards. The app is for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®.
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Computers are often required to find information in large collections of data. They need to develop quick and efficient ways of doing this. This activity demonstrates three different search methods: linear searching, binary searching and hashing. Fun game!
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