Primary - Some simple ideas

Key Stage 1

In Key Stage 1 pupils should be taught to understand what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices, and that programs execute by following a sequence of instructions

Give them a simple instruction list to walk to the school office using forward x paces; turn rt/lt; etc. The instructions are a form of algorithm. An algorithm is a complete list of clearly defined instructions for completing an activity.

Write and test simple programs 

After using a programmable toy to follow a route by direct commands, ask the pupils to write down a list of commands before entering them into keypad; if it is not right they change their written 'program' before re-entering the instructions - the pupils are, in effect programming

Use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs 

Here are three simple examples.

Ask, what letter does this draw?
Forward 1,
Repeat 4 [Forward 1, Right 90]

Ask, what shape does this draw?
Forward 1,
Repeat 4 [Right 90, Forward 1]

Talk about what these instructions do
01- Box A contains 9
02- Box B contains 3
03- Working out
04- Take 1 out of Box A
05- Take 1 out of Box B
06- If Box B is NOT empty THEN go to 'Working out'
07- How many is in Box A?

The pupils could act out the sequence. To help them understand what is happening you could ask "What does 9 - 3 = ?"

In Key Stage 1 pupils should be taught to organise, store, manipulate and retrieve data in a range of digital formats 

Using a word processor and saving work; taking photographs and storing on the computer; recording an MP3 file and saving on a computer; making a presentation 

communicate safely and respectfully online 

Use email to exchange messages with friends, experts and automatic systems, talk about being thoughtful and  respectful 

keeping personal information private 

Talk about profiles such as Whizzkids. Discuss who has access to it and why they should not tell others their password 

recognise common uses of information technology beyond school 

discuss with pupils: barcodes on shopping, traffic light systems, CCTV cameras, ondemand television, voice-over-internet. Take a look around your locality, can you find other examples to use? Perhaps you could arrange a 'technology walk'?

Key Stage 2

Some of the terminology used at Key Stage 2 may be less familiar but they begin to introduce some of the fundamental concepts that the children will be repeatedly exposed to as they progress through school.

In Key Stage 2 pupils should be taught to: design and write programs that accomplish specific goals

solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts 

Ask how do we get to school? (break into stages, describe each stage separately) how do we build a plane from plastic bricks? (describe the stages) Point out that the children are decomposing complex tasks. A good introduction to decomposition can be found at http:// 

use sequence, selection, and repetition in programs

These constructs lie at the heart of programming. Repeated exposure in lots of contexts is essential. sequence - a list of instructions

selection - instructions with IF conditions repetition (iteration) - a list of instructions with parts that repeat

The key areas in the new KS2 programme of study relate to programming. Some terms may be a little  unfamiliar. Here are some easy to implement interpretations

In Key Stage 2 pupils should be taught to: work with variables 

Create a Scratch game that keeps the player's score 

and various forms of input and output 

Generate appropriate inputs and predicted outputs to test programs simple escape the maze activity in LOGO - load an image of a maze with the turtle at the centre - children have to plan a sequence of instructions that will steer the turtle out of the maze. 

use logical reasoning to explain how a simple algorithm works and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs

See the introduction to algorithms at
A := B means "make the contents of A become the same as the contents of B"
A := A + B means "make the contents of A become the same as the contents of A added to the contents of B"
A := 7 means "make the contents of A become 7"

A can be a box (of counters on the desk), cell (of a spreadsheet) or memory location (in a computer). Using the following:
A := 5
B := 7
A := A + B
B := A - B
A := A - B

What is the content of A now?
What is the content of B now?
What does the program do?

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