6. Explorers need maps: Abstraction, Representations and Graphs

An inspiring unplugged session on teaching computing for teachers.

Overview

Abstraction – essentially just hiding information – is a core part of computational thinking that is closely linked to the choice of data representation. We will give a deeper understanding of abstraction, providing fun ways to teach it, based on cs4fn / Teaching London Computing resources. The great explorers didn’t just wander around new continents finding things. They drew maps. Maps are just abstractions of the world. Based on games and puzzles, we will see how drawing a special kind of map called a graph and a variation the finite state machine is a part of computational thinking problem solving. They are useful tools for understanding how to use, exploring and designing computer systems.

Session material
This session will cover:

  • What is Computational Thinking?
  • Inspiring ways to teach Computational Thinking.
  • What is abstraction?
  • Why does the choice of data representation matter when solving problems?
  • What is a graph and why are they useful?
  • What is a finite state machine and why are they useful?

Activities are suitable for all age groups and can be adapted to fit your teaching needs.

Resources
This session comes with linked activity sheets and ‘story’ write-ups that you can download:


How to fold a hexahexaflexagon, with Paul Curzon.

Format
This is a self-contained evening interactive seminar session lasting 60-90 minutes.

Similar sessions on other topics
Want to get up to speed on computing concepts like computational thinking or ideas for how to teach computing in a fun, inspiring way? Teaching London Computing with cs4fn run as series of free one off sessions for teachers of ICT and computing such as this one.

For our programme of longer courses for teachers please see CPD courses.

Sign-up to be kept informed of future workshops and courses.


 

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