Games are a great way to develop computational thinking skills in the classroom. This resource encourages learners to consider the rules of a game. This in turn helps them to develop a simplified understanding of algorithms and computational thinking.
This activity can be one with a family group or a several groups in a classroom.
There is no required list of materials, young people can be as they creative as they wish with their game. The following provides an example of typical materials.
- pen and paper
- coloured pens/pencils/crayons
- glue stick/tape
- toy cars or figures (e.g. LEGO figures or Shopkins characters)
- Start by playing a game you know, encourage the learners to think about the process of playing the game, get them to explain the rules as they make moves.
- Change 2 of the rules of the game. Make sure everyone understands the new rules and continue playing. If you are playing in a class, pass the new rules to another group. Are the new rules clear? Do they change the game?
- Now make your own board game using the list below to start planning your game:
- Will your game have a theme?
- What is the aim of the game?
- Where will the players start?
- How will players move?
- Will players collect things?
- Find objects to use as counters, points and obstacles.
- Is it a team game or an individual game?
- Will all the players have the same rules?
- Can players try to block other players?
- When you think about the rules, can you include:
- Repetition: Can you invent a trap that means a player just repeats the same action over and over again and can’t escape?
- A Conditional Rule. For example if you roll a 5 then you take a particular action
How does this activity support computational thinking?
- All games are a process
- To play the game you are following an algorithm
- When you change the rules or invent your own game you are creating your own algorithm.
The TeachCS Guide is a great resource for developing your practice in computing teaching and provides more information about the importance of computational thinking in the classroom.