The Punch-card searching activity

Show how early computers searched for data using a magic trick.

Demonstrate how early computers were able to find data stored on punch cards and show that it is the same algorithm as the magic trick in the ‘Australian Magician’s Dream’ Activity. Show in a visual way how a search algorithm works as well as showing a practical use of binary numbers.

Learn about:

  • binary numbers
  • search algorithms
  • a divide and conquer algorithm for searching
  • computational thinking: translating problems.


This activity can be used on its own but naturally combines with the Australian Magician’s Dream activity.

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