Home Learning – Secondary Computing resources

Hello parents, carers, teachers and students,

We have gathered together some of our fun activities for you to do at home. We have lots more, but these are a selection. Our resources are all about computing. Click on an image to find out more (and what you’ll need) then follow the links for more instructions.

Lots of these projects don’t need a printer (though a printer might help). Those that don’t need a printer are marked in yellow. Where a project needs a printer we’ve tried to link to online alternatives where possible. We also have our CS4FN guide to secondary school computing topics

For additional help please contact cs4fn@eecs.qmul.ac.uk and also see the hashtags on Twitter of #ComputingAtHome #HomeLearning.


1. Cryptography 2. Chocolate Turing
3. CS4FN magazines
4. Puzzle Book(s) 5. Diversity 6. Box variables
Celebrating diversity in computer science


Project details

1. Cryptography

Find out about keeping your own secrets safe… while uncovering other people’s.

Reading: (online, no printer needed)learn why Mary Queen of Scots lost her head thanks to weak encryption.
Activity: (printer needed, or patience to copy it onto paper) – solve a Code Breaking Puzzle and find out about frequency analysis (eg in English texts you find words with the letter D much more often than the letter J).
Reading and activity: (online, no printer needed)how can you communicate if the only way you can move is by blinking? Read about Jean-Dominique Bauby whose helper read individual letters (A, B, C…) to him and he blinked for the one he wanted. Try it yourself with someone in your home and see how quickly you can improve on the algorithm. We also have a PDF booklet called ‘Searching to Speak‘.
Reading: (online, no printer needed) In World War 2 cryptographers found a way to listen in to encoded messages using a specialised computer called a ‘Bombe’ that computer scientist Alan Turing helped to design.

• Lots more about cryptography from our CS4FN website.


2. The Chocolate Turing Machine

Alan Turing created the ‘Turing Machine’ which is “a mathematical model that defines a machine, such as a computer, which manipulates symbols according to rules”. You can make a working model of one from anything but why not try chocolate or lego.
Activity: (printer not essential, though helpful) – make a Turing machine from chocolate.


3. CS4FN magazines

We’ve been running Computer Science For Fun (CS4FN) since 2005 with a website and free magazine sent to schools with stories about how computers and computer scientists can make our world better. All of our magazines and booklets can be downloaded and read, free, as PDFs (no printer needed).


4. Puzzle Book(s)

Learn about cryptography, data structures, regular languages, networks, abstraction and representation, logical thinking, human computer interaction and much more through puzzles. You’ll need a printer (or patience to write out the puzzles) for Computational Thinking Puzzles – Book 1 or to follow our hexahexaflexagon automata book, but you can make very simple hexaflexagons with just a piece of folded paper.


5. Diversity

Anyone can be great at Computer Science whatever their gender, upbringing, ethnicity, sexuality, age. We have a collection of resources about computer scientists from different backgrounds.

If you have a printer you can print out some posters, or you can just read about the people.


6. Box variables

The Box variable activity will let you discover more about programming, assignment, variables, values, declaration, initialisation and sequencing. You’ll need three or more people to join in to do the activity. A printer will help but you can just copy the instructions onto pieces of paper.


More resources

Computing At Home
Primary resources | More primary resources | Secondary resources (this page)


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Picture credits
In the table: locked computer image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay (cryptography), open box image by digital designer from Pixabay (box variables).