Computational Thinking

Computational thinking allows us to take a complex problem, understand what the problem is and develop possible solutions. We can then present these solutions in a way that a computer, a human, or both, can understand.

There are four key techniques (cornerstones) to computational thinking:
  • decomposition - breaking down a complex problem or system into smaller, more manageable parts
  • pattern recognition – looking for similarities among and within problems
  • abstraction – focusing on the important information only, ignoring irrelevant detail
  • algorithms - developing a step-by-step solution to the problem, or the rules to follow to solve the problem


*Meeting a friend somewhere you've never been before
*Playing a video game-What's YOUR time suck?
*Making a video game

  • each complex problem was broken down into several small decisions and steps- eg where to go, how to complete the level – decomposition
  • only the relevant details were focused on-eg weather, location of exit – abstraction
  • knowledge of previous similar problems was used - pattern recognition...
  • work out a step by step plan of action - algorithms

5. Resources for Educators

posted Dec 1, 2017, 1:20 PM by Paula White   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 1:39 PM ]

and others who want to learn more or see more examples!

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and the UK Computing at School working group (CAS) have collaborated with representatives from education and industry to develop computational thinking resources for educators.

ISTE Computational Thinking Page
CSTA Computational Thinking Page
CAS Computational Thinking Page
Google's Exploring Computational Thinking (ECT) page

Solving Problems Using Computational Thinking at Google  At the end of this video are more videos, including...

4. Algorithms

posted Dec 1, 2017, 12:51 PM by Paula White   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 1:45 PM ]

Can you use the patterns you've recognized to create an algorithm or formula that will fit any number of disks?

3. Abstraction

posted Dec 1, 2017, 12:51 PM by Paula White   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 1:44 PM ]

What ARE the important details in this game?

What can you ignore?  (if anything)

2. Pattern Recognition

posted Dec 1, 2017, 12:50 PM by Paula White   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 2:01 PM ]

So if you figure out the way you can transfer the red and yellow disks to the other side using a relatively small number, can you also figure out a pattern to transfer any number of disks?

1. Decomposition

posted Dec 1, 2017, 12:48 PM by Paula White   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 2:00 PM ]

Game: Switch the colored disks

Take 12 disks and set them up so that you have six red ones on the left and six yellow ones on the right, with a space in the middle. You can jump disks, but you cannot move them backwards. When you finish, the red ones need to be on the right, and the yellow on the left, with a space in the middle.

How can you break this down into smaller or more manageable parts?

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