Unplugged algorithms for moving along a route
• Understand that an algorithm is a set of instructions in a particular order
• Create a set of instructions to navigate a simple route, using forwards, left and right commands
• Follow a set of instructions accurately
• Record instructions accurately
If working with a large group, you could make a large grid mat and print a large version of the van onto card. Attach the image of the van on top of a toy car so that it can easily move around the grid.
Talk to the students about delivery vans. Have they seen any? (Royal Mail, DHL, Ocado etc...) In this project they are going to control their own van on the computer. They will control the van by giving it instructions to move. Very clear instructions.
Explain the learning expectations and that they will be computer programmers, but before that they will look at a model of a van on a tabletop map to think about how to give it clear instructions.
Demonstrate how the van travels along the road on resource sheet 1 [fig S1.1].
What types of movement is it making? (e.g. moving forwards, driving around a corner)
If we are going to give exact instructions, what might those instructions be?
If we just say go forward, exactly how far forward do we mean?
Guide the discussion so that the students understand that ‘drive forward one grid square’ is more precise than ‘move forward’, and that ‘drive around the corner to the right’ is clearer than ‘go that way’!
Explain how the students are going to use the arrow direction cards [fig S1.2] to use them to record their instructions. Explain that the rules for this van are a little different from a BeeBot. Forward means one grid square from edge to edge. Turn right means drive around the corner to the right from edge to edge [fig S1.3].