Writing your own art algorithm (15 minutes)
Say you have created an algorithm to help them draw it. Show students examples of algorithms by either describing them or drawing examples on the whiteboard.
Draw a dot.
Draw a circle around a dot.
Draw a line connecting all the red objects.
Draw the first letter of your name.
Draw squares in two different color.
Draw triangles inside each square.
For younger students, you can specify that the algorithm drawing needs the following:
Form: squares, circles, dots, lines, waves, horizontal lines, vertical lines
A starting and ending point
Practise making algorithms on paper. Allow each student to design their own, unique algorithm. In the end you should have every student sitting around the paper ready with one algorithm.
How specific do you need to be when giving instructions? Not overly. The goal here is to start building the skills to translate visuals to a set of instructions and vice versa and to observe how much humans actually understand without being specifically instructed.
This activity might work best with children who have already coded with a visual programming language and can make the connection to an algorithm. On the other hand for the smaller kids, it might be a fun way to get familiar with the big word that is ‘algorithm’ without worrying too much about errors.
Students can work in pairs to create the algorithms, then work in pairs to try out each other’s algorithms. If this feels too chaotic you can work together as a class and create a few algorithms together.