Card tricks are a great way to explain what an algorithm is. Professor Paul Curzon has written two books explaining how to perform card tricks and then how they actually work as procedural algorithms. I tried this one (21 Card Trick) it's impressive, easy to learn and works every time. Then, when it comes to explaining it, it's quite simple too. Here is a link to a Google folder where you can download Paul Curzon's Card Trick Book 1
With the help of the DfE, Teach London Computing (teachinglondoncomputing.org) and Hackney Learning Trust, we organised the delivery of three of Professor Paul Curzon's renowned 'Unplugged' Workshops at Cardinal Pole School, Hackney. The workshops are superb in our opinion because learning programming and computational thinking can be such an abstract affair which leaves many cold. However, in Professor Paul Curzon's fun focused workshops he inspires by making abstract concepts understandable using a variety of often surprising methods including magic tricks, mind reading and visualisation tasks.
The third session in the series of four covered:
- Inspiring ways to introduce programming away from computers.
- What is a variable?
- How does assignment work?
- Programming simple objects
- Introducing flow of control and if statements
Overview of the third workshop
It’s easy to assume that programming is something you have to learn at a computer but if you want your students to deeply understand programming concepts, rather than blindly getting programs to work then unplugged techniques can work really well to get students started. A large group of primary and secondary teachers took an evening out to learn how to program a robot face that is made of ... students.
We also looked at simple ways to give a deep understanding of how variables work by making them physical.
And see how to compile programs onto your class instead of onto a computer.
Teaching London Computing is funded by the DfE/Mayor of London's London School's Excellence Fund with additional support from Google.