Technique – Manipulating Information in Unplugged Computing
Summary of Technique
Pupils (in pairs) differentiate data items used in a system and attempt to classify or group those items based on their knowledge of the system being examined. After classifying the data structures pupils will explore how the data items interact and determine rules which can be applied to the data structures.
Resources for Teachers
The sample kinaesthetic activity introduces the idea of compression and allows pupils explore ways to compress a text document manually. They investigate repeating patterns of text and redact redundant data from the text body which can be reconstructed using the rules that they create.
A good follow up online activity may be found HERE
Ways of Using the Technique in the Classroom
In the example activity pupils investigate a piece of text to determine how the data can be reduced (compressed) by identifying repeating data items. Using rules (which they create) pupils can redact redundant data from the text body. The original data can then be reconstructed by applying the rules.
The lesson is introduce by a demonstration then pupils are given the worksheets.
The online activity from code.org follows on from this idea.
Benefits for Learners
- Hands-on learning allows students to observe each step of the process to aid in their overall understanding.
- Students are given the opportunity to participate in practical activities which may otherwise not be possible.
- The process can be examined at each stage in detail to aid understanding.
- Complex systems may be represented in a simple manner to aid teaching and learning.
- Hidden mechanisms within a process may be identified and examined in detail.
- A good way to introduce a new topic or idea.
- Student feedback is positive and the activities are enjoyable.