Computing Unplugged

Learn Computer Science fundamentals without technology

Introducing our brand new computing unplugged resources for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Learn the fundamental principles of computer science.without tech!

iCompute's unplugged activities
iCompute Unplugged – Learn Computer Science without Tech!

iCompute unplugged offers teachers, parents and pupils a rich variety of resources enabling them to teach and learn computing inside and outside of the classroom without the need for devices or software. Our resources have been downloaded and used tens of thousands of times by teachers and pupils around the world.

Developed initially as a response to school closures due to COVID-19, the need to equip teachers and pupils with the skills necessary to communicate, collaborate, teach and learn has never been more important.  Our creative, engaging, activities are designed by a Computer Scientist and Primary Computer Science Master Teacher to enable children to develop the fundamental principles of computer science. 

Unplugged for Mastery

Computing Mastery
Computing Mastery

Unplugged activities are part of our principles for Mastery in Computing. The judicious use of activities away from devices and computers are crucial to young children’s learning in computing. Our activities are physical in nature and provide kinaesthetic experiences which help pupils understand abstract concepts and deepen learning.  Having activities away from computers is effective as children know that computers are a tool in their learning, rather than the subject itself.  Stepping away from computers enables them to think about concepts and teachers can convey fundamentals that are independent of particular software or technology. Find out more about achieving mastery in computing.

The Resources

The resources are divided into activities suitable for pupils aged 5-7 (Key Stage 1) and ages 7-11 (Key Stage 2) and are matched to the National Curriculum for Computing for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 Programme of Study.

Key Stage 1 Unplugged

Our Key Stage 1 resources are intended to be used by children working either together with their families or in small supervised groups. The activities are ‘unplugged’ and intended to be used by children working either with their families or in small supervised groups.  They are split into the fundamental principles of computer science (algorithms, decomposition, abstraction, logical thinking, and generalisation) to help develop the computational thinking skills that lie at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing.

Key Stage 2 Unplugged

KS2 Unplugged

The Key Stage 2 unplugged resources are designed for teaching groups of children some of amazing concepts that computer science includes. From simulating networks and data transfer using string and sticky notes to ‘crawling’ the world wide web as search engine spiders, they all provide active, kinaesthetic learning experiences and are collaborative, engaging and fun!

Get them at www.icompute-uk.com

Feedback

“The activities are wonderful, engaging and with clear learning objectives”

“iCompute has introduced a more creative way of learning and this has been seen in the enthusiasm of the children”

“This is a very good resource.  Not only for younger learners but for anyone teaching Computer Science.  The exercises practice sequencing, abstraction, pattern generation, decomposition and object relationships.

Developing Computational Thinking

Preparing The Next Generation of Problem Solvers

Computational Thinking

Computational Thinking

A high quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the World” (DfE)

Computational Thinking lies at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing.  Here, I look at what Computational Thinking means and how teachers can help pupils develop effective problem solving skills that can be applied in all areas of life.

Computational Thinking is about transforming a seemingly complex problem into a simple one that we know how to solve.  It involves taking a problem and breaking it down into a series of smaller, more manageable parts (decomposition). Each part can then be looked at individually, considering similarities between and within other problems (pattern recognition), and focusing only on the important details whilst ignoring irrelevant information (abstraction). Next, looking for solutions to other problems and adapting them to solve new problems (generalisation).  Then, simple steps or rules to solve each of the smaller problems can be designed (algorithms).  Once we have a working solution, we then use (evaluation) to analyse it and ask – Is it any good ? Can it be improved? How?

Teaching computational thinking is not teaching children how to think like a computer.  Computers cannot think.  Computers are stupid.  Everything computers do, people make happen.  It’s also not teaching children how to compute.  It’s developing the knowledge, skills and understanding of how people solve problems.  As such, it absolutely should not be confined to computing lessons and should be used throughout the curriculum to approach and solve problems and communicate and collaborate with others.

iCompute’s computational thinking puzzles for primary pupils are a ground-breaking new development in primary education. In the digital age, the benefits of computational thinking throughout education are increasingly being highlighted. Our, colourful, engaging and challenging puzzles are designed for children aged 7-11 to independently practise and develop the fundamental computational thinking skills that lie at the heart of the National Curriculum for Computing.  The puzzles help develop skills of decomposition, abstraction, generalisation and designing algorithms. This means children can find solutions and apply those already found to different problems, in different contexts. All of this helps lay the foundations for them to become effective problem solvers.

computational thinking puzzles

iCompute’s Computational Thinking Puzzles

Solving puzzles leads to important outcomes including challenge, a sense of satisfaction, achievement and enjoyment. Puzzles rouse curiosity and hone intuition. Our carefully constructed computational thinking puzzles – designed by a computer scientist, software engineer and computer science master teacher – provide challenge, insight and entertainment all of which increase pupil engagement and promote independent learning.

ERA Nominated

iCompute ERA Nominee

Puzzles help children develop general problem-solving and independent learning skills.  Engaging in puzzles means that pupils:

  • use creative approaches
  • make choices;
  • develop modelling skills;
  • develop persistence and resilience;
  • practice recognition of patterns and similarities, reducing the complexity of problems

 Pupils use, applying and develop the following aspects of the National Curriculum for Computing:
* Logical reasoning
* Decomposition – splitting problems down into smaller problems to make them easier to solve
* Abstraction – taking the detail out of a problem to make it easier to solve
* Generalisation – adapting solutions to other problems to solve new ones
* Pattern recognition – spotting patterns and relationships
* Algorithms – finding the steps that solve a problem
* Evaluation – looking critically at a solution to determine if there’s a better way to solve it
* Testing – checking whether a possible solution works
* Debugging – finding problems with a solution and fixing them

Our puzzles are designed for independent pupil work and provide pupils with handy tips on how to approach the problems and challenges. They also make clear links between the puzzles being approached, the skills being developed and the relevance of both not just in computing but the wider world. This enables pupils to make clear links between subjects and helps pupils make meaning of their learning.

See this post for an example of the puzzles.  You can also download samples and order class packs from our main website.

Download a free Computational Thinking Diary here:

Computational Thinking Diary

Click to download

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