The Punch Card Sorting Activity

Demonstrate how early computers were able to sort data stored on punch cards. This activity aims to show initially in a magically surprising way how a sort algorithm works. In doing so you demonstrate a practical use of binary numbers, a divide and conquer algorithm for sorting and see an example of a parallel (i.e., where computation is done in parallel) algorithm.

Learn about:

  • sort algorithms
  • binary radix sorting
  • efficiency of algorithms
  • computational thinking: algorithmic thinking
  • a practical use of binary


This session comes with slides and simple props, a linked activity sheet  that you can download is in preparation:

This activity works well on its own but can naturally be used with the Divide and Conquer Sorting Activity

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