Inspiring computing booklets

Teaching London Computing with cs4fn have produced a series of booklets telling inspiring computing stories for use in the classroom.

Links to resource pages are given below. The pdfs of all our glossy magazines and booklets are available from our cs4fn download site.

Booklets for Primary Aged Children

  • A Bit of CS4FN Issue 1
    • Explore computer science for fun through games, activities and puzzles, and some links through history
    • History: The Victorians
    • Spies like us: World War II
    • Computing and Art: Pointillism and Robot Artists
    • Artificial Intelligence, Music and Machine Learning
    • Superhero powers: invisibility
    • Logical Thinking: Kriss-kross
    • Direct kids to our “Bit of CS4FN’ page on Issue 1
  • Ergo’s Adventures in Thinking
    • Explore logical thinking through a series of short poems about Ergo, a character you create, drawing your own pictures to illustrate the poems. In each poem, Ergo is in a muddle, making a common thinking mistake.
    • A guide for grown-ups explains the logical fallacies (muddle) involved in each poem.
    • Direct kids to our “Bit of CS4FN’ page on Ergo

Computational Thinking Booklets

  • So what is Computational Thinking?
    • An overview of the separate skills that make up computational thinking: including algorithmic thinking, evaluation, abstraction, generalisation and decomposition.
    • Outlines how it all works together.
  • The cs4fn Computational Thinking Puzzle Book Issue 1
    • Solve computational thinking and computing puzzles.
    • Learn about computational thinking, algorithmic thinking, logical thinking, evaluation, data compression, image representation, binary, code cracking, search algorithms, historical figures, graphs, graph algorithms and more.
  • A Brief Tour of Computational Thinking: The Knight’s Tour and Other Puzzles
    • Find a way for a Knight to visit every square on a board exactly once. In doing so find out what computational thinking is all about. See how algorithms are at its heart, allowing computer scientists to solve a problem once and then, as long as they have checked it carefully, avoid having to think about it ever again. See why computer scientists think hiding things makes their life easier, especially when they find a good way to represent information, and how an ability to match patterns lets the lazy computer scientist’s do no more work than absolutely necessary. Oh, and help a tourist guide at the same time.
    • Learn about computational thinking, algorithmic thinking, evaluation, abstraction, data representation, generalisation and pattern matching, sequences of instructions, testing and requirements, graphs, graph algorithms and hamiltonian cycles.
    • Attend the live version: see our session page
    • Download the classroom activity sheets: Activity: Knight’s Tour and Activity: The Tour Guide
    • Make a red and yellow hexahexaflexagon by folding and gluing a multicoloured paper strip, following the algorithm. Once made you start to explore it. As you fold it up and unfold it, you magically reveal new sides as the flexagon changes colour. To explore it fully, you need a map. A graph seems a good representation, which you create as you explore.
    • A graph is like a tube map, with circles (nodes) for places revealed and lines between them (edges) showing which circles you can move between by folding and unfolding the flexagon. It is a special kind of graph that can be thought of as a machine – a ‘finite state machine’. The nodes of the graph are different states the flexagon can be in and the edges show what actions that can be taken to move between states. It describes the computations involved in flexing the flexagon. A finite state machines is a very useful tools in the computational thinking toolbox. They are an important way for describing what computer systems do.
    • Learn about graphs, graph exploration algorithms, finite state machines (also called automata), specification, computational thinking, abstraction, data representation, computational modelling, generalisation and pattern matching, algorithmic thinking, evaluation, logical thinking.
    • Attend the live version: see our session page
  • Computational Thinking: A Godlike Heart
    • A Godlike Heart is a short story about computational thinking, introducing the idea of using binary to represent different kinds of information. Set in ancient Mexico it follows the story of the kidnapping of and subsequent search for the daughter of a great “Jaguar Knight”: a general in the Mexican army. It was written by Rafael Pérez y Pérez of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, México and translated from the original Spanish by Paul Curzon, of Queen Mary University of London for cs4fn and Teaching London Computing.

Programming and Data Structure and Algorithm: Understanding Concepts

  • Computing without computers 
    • A gentle introduction to programming, data structures and algorithms for complete novices that avoids programming notation, instead focussing on helping you understand the concepts. Everything is  explained in terms of everyday things, strange links and thought-provoking metaphors in the cs4fn  ‘Computer Science for Fun’ style.
    • Learn about programming, data structures and algorithms.
    • Download the booklet: Computing without computers (Feb 2014 version).

Learning about Computing through Magic Tricks

  • The Magic of Computer Science
    • A book of magic tricks with linked computer science lessons and the maths and science linked to the computing concepts.
  • The Magic of Computer Science II
    • A second book of magic tricks with linked computer science lessons and the maths and science linked to the computing concepts.
  • Magic and Algorithms: The Australian Magician’s Dream
    • A booklet on computational thinking based around a magic trick and how punch cards were once used to store and search for data.
    • Learn about search algorithms, divide and conquer, binary numbers, computational thinking, generalisation and pattern matching, abstraction, data representation, computational modelling, algorithmic thinking, evaluation, logical thinking.
  • Computational Thinking: Magical Book Magic
    • You take a book that involves Witches or Wizards, Macbeth for example, and demonstrate how magic has seeped into the words of such books over the ages. The volunteer picks a word from the start of the book and then, letting the book itself direct them, they end up with the word that no one could have possibly known, but that you predicted at the outset having hidden the prediction in an envelope that they have held all along
    • In exploring how the magic works, you learn about computational thinking: especially the importance of evaluation to algorithmic thinking. You explore both testing and hazard analysis.
    • The magic trick shows how computer scientists, engineers (and magicians) have to check their algorithms thoroughly. They must think carefully about how things might go wrong as well as checking they will go right.
    • Attend the live version: see our session page

Computer Science for Fun Magazines

Read our free, glossy magazine: interdisciplinary Computing research  written for school students. Learn about the future of computing and  explore what computer scientists do for real.

More of our resources, including linked classroom activities can be found in our resources section. You may also want to look at cs4fn’s teacher resources or browse download back issues of the cs4fn magazine.

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