Computational Thinking and Lego Building

In our Swift Workshop this week, we started the session with a reminder of the need for sequential and specific instructions.   I led the students through a series of movements and then Mrs Sansness took a sequence of these and revisited the idea of a ‘function’.  This was something that they had struggled with in the previous lesson.  This activity helped to ‘cement’ the idea of a function for many of them.

We then put them in pairs and they completed a lego building activity with a difference.  In this activity, they only had one set between them and we told them that one of them was going to be in charge of building and the other was going to be in charge of giving directions on how and what to build.

This meant the children came to see the importance of breaking things down, seeing patterns in the way they could describe things to be easily understood and in abstracting concepts to get a job done.

Computational Thinking, as defined by ACARA is:

A problem-solving method that involves various techniques and strategies that can be implemented by digital systems. Techniques and strategies may include organising data logically, breaking down problems into parts, defining abstract concepts and designing and using algorithms, patterns and models.

In our next lesson, we will do this activity again but will include the element of timing.  This added pressure on the students might mean they see even more reason for patterning, order and very clear instructions.

This was a very useful way to start the lesson.  Thanks to James Curran for the idea!