KS1 Unplugged - Primary Computing

KS1 Computing unplugged
Jon Chippindall (@drchips_)
Year 5 Class Teacher & Computing Leader at
Crumpsall Lane Primary School, Manchester
CAS Master Teacher
Workshop overview/objectives
• (What) Explain what is meant by ‘unplugged’
• (Why) Discuss the benefits of using unplugged
• (How) Provide ideas for unplugged computing
activities to target KS1 CS objectives
What is computing unplugged?
• ‘Unplugged’ refers to activities which don’t
require the use of any technology
• Activities may be paper based, use drama or
other practical hands-on tasks to teach CS
• Activities often require pupils to take on the role
of the computer - kinesthetic experiential
Why use unplugged activities?
• Computing curriculum aims to develop pupils’
computational thinking skills, this includes:
• Algorithmic thinking
Sequencing tasks into steps
Understanding the importance of the order of the steps
Thinking through the outcome of algorithms
Including repetition and selection within algorithms (Ks2)
Evaluating the effectiveness of algorithms and improving as
required (debugging)
• Decomposition – ability to break down problems into subproblems to help solve
• We can develop these skills without technology
- Powerful kinesthetic learning experiences
- Technology may be barrier to developing CT skills
How: directional vocabulary
• Developing directional
vocabulary – partner pencil
maze game
• Blindfolded robot partners in
school hall – toilet paper
• Progress from step-by-step to
thinking ahead by writing
algorithms down, following and
How: decomposing daily activities
• Please pick a daily activity, such as: getting up in
the morning; setting up your classroom; making a
cup of tea. Write at the top of the page.
– Task 1: Decompose your problem into sub problems,
e.g. making breakfast…. then decompose these!
Open bread
Making toast
Get piece of bread
Making cereal
Place in toaster
Take out piece
of bread
Place bread in
– Task 2: Write the algorithm for your daily activity (PI)
• Pupils swapped, followed, fed back and debugged
(pictorial to support LA)
How: human crane algorithms
Thanks to Phil Bagge  Planning, command cards to download
from www.code-it.co.uk
- Starting position is above left circle
with fingers open
-Algorithm form: D, B, C…
Human crane extension – repetition
• Understanding and using concept of repetition
features in key stage 2 curriculum
• Repetition can be used to shorten algorithms,
making them more efficient (a good computer
scientist is a lazy computer scientist)
• D, B, C, E, D, A, C , F, D, B, C, E, D, A, C, F,
Further ideas…
• Musical algorithms (Hokey Cokey): Can pupils write the
algorithm, sequence picture cards, create new dance
• Sequencing within role play areas: Can pupils debug
your incorrect steps?
• Blindfolded hide and seek
• Hidden drawing game: Follow an algorithm and reveal
if the shapes match
• Human Bee Bots!
• Spotting algorithms (rules) around them – sandpit
bands example; school day sequence; whistle to stop
• CS Unplugged; www.Code-it.co.uk
• Further ideas from you…
Thanks and any questions?

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