Generalisation is a way of quickly solving new problems based on previous problems we have solved. We can take an algorithm that solves some specific problem and adapt it so that it solves a whole class of similar problems. Then whenever we have to solve a new problem of that kind we just apply this general solution.

For example, a pupil uses a floor turtle to draw a series of shapes, such as a square and a triangle. The pupil writes a computer program to draw the two shapes. They then want to draw an octagon and a 10-sided shape. From the work with the square and triangle, they spot that there is a relationship between the number of sides in the shape and the angles involved. They can then write an algorithm that expresses this relationship and uses it to draw any regular polygon.

The following links to cs4fn articles that illustrate generalisation.

More of our resources, including linked computing ‘story’ booklets can be found in our resources section. You may also want to look at cs4fn’s teacher resources or browse the latest cs4fn magazine.

It is suggested that:

  • Primary teachers focus on the badge statements from the Pink to Purple row.
  • Secondary teachers focus on the badge statements from the Purple to Black row.
  • The white row overlaps with the KS4 qualification specifications.

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