Stage 6: Efficiency & Clarity in Algorithms

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Lucélia Ribeiro


Stage 7 is a lesson on making our Algorithms clear (not Ambiguous) and also Efficient.  I confess that I did not do the two unplugged exercises with my children.  The two exercises involve folding a piece of paper into 16 squares (an exercise in efficiency) and creating pictures using Tangrams (an exercise in clarity).

I found that we had enough examples about clarity and efficiency from the previous activities to talk through as examples. I think my children would have been bored with the two suggested exercises, so I skipped doing the exercises but talked about the new concepts and vocabulary referring to past exercises:

While we were doing the puzzles, there were times when we used MORE blocks than the puzzle asked for.  This was an example of lack of Efficiency. We were still given credit for doing those puzzles, but it is noted in our Progress Chart that we used extra blocks. There were times that my children and even myself used LESS blocks than was asked for.  So, we were being very efficient. Unfortunately, there is no notation made that we used less blocks.  That’s unfortunate because if you’re going to note when we were less efficient, how about crediting us when we are being more efficient?

For each previous unplugged exercise, we talked about how important it is to have clear directions or clear algorithms as computers will follow our directions exactly.  We have to be careful to not be Ambiguous.  Directing a computer is not exactly the same as directing a human being.

New Concepts from for this lesson were:

Algorithm—A list of steps that allow you to
complete a task
Ambiguous—Having more than one meaning
Efficiency—Having the best outcome for the
least amount of work
Evaluate—To work at an answer

~Onward to Stage 7 & 8!  Stage 7 is more Artist puzzles.  Stage 8 is about Functions.  Do you hear me morphing into a Computer Scientist? 😉     Vivian

About Vivian

Vivian @ChezVivian is a Canadian-born Chinese, currently living in Switzerland. She has also lived in Hong Kong and Indonesia. She holds a M.S. (focus: Educational Technology Integration), B.Ed and a B.A. and graduate studies in Kodály and Orff music pedagogy. She is an elementary school classroom generalist, but has also taught as a music specialist, ESL/EAL and also in Learning Support. Most of her teaching career was in International Schools in Hong Kong. She is excited about the IBPYP and the possibilities of using technology to Inquire. Recently, she has been looking at the opportunities that computer programming gives to put #TECHXture back into the hands of children. In other words, technology need not be just about looking at screens. It can be about building things with our hands; and computer programming levels-up what children can do with the things they build---encouraging higher thinking skills. She is a Coetail Post-graduate Certificate grad ('13-'14), a former Coetail Coach and one of the co-founders of #CoetailChat. Her blog home curates her assignments for Coetail and her M.S. graduate studies about Educational Technology integration and anything else educationally-related that she feels inspired to write about. Her twitter tagline sums it up: "Mom to 4, Mentor, Educator, Musician (in that order)".
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2 Responses to Stage 6: Efficiency & Clarity in Algorithms

  1. I see some language links here – using the terms ambiguous and efficient to discuss writing.

  2. Vivian says:

    Hi Jayne @jaymizusoh

    I wish we could teach this together as I bet we could help each other make more links to the regular curriculum.