In this inquiry-based offline activity students will learn about algorithms and their use in helping computers move through enormous amounts of information efficiently in a short amount of time.
- Check out our Teacher Guide for tips and tricks!
- Make enough space in the classroom for students to easily move around
- Have students stand up
Introduction Algorithms are a list of rules to follow in order to solve a problem. We use these everyday and may not notice. To better understand how algorithms work we will practice one in real life.
- Instruct students that they need to organize themselves in a line from youngest to oldest after you say GO!
- BUT, they will have to organize themselves in complete silence.
- Time students as they line up.
- Once students have finished tell students the time that they made.
- Now have students sort themselves again. See if they can beat their initial time.
- Announce the time again, and ask students:
- What was different between the first sorting time and the second?
- What strategies did they use to communicate?
- What strategies did they decide on to sort themselves?
- The type of algorithm that student practiced is called a sorting algorithm. Software developers asked the same questions above as they develop computer programs. Sorting algorithms help computers sift through large sets of data or information quickly.
- Assess students ability to collaborate and communicate as a group.
- Have students research an algorithm to learn more about how it works.
- Have students act as representatives of their algorithms and debate why theirs is best.