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Ideas for A Level Computing practical lessons

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by dsmuk, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    Am in the middle of COMP1 for the AQA spec but am struggling to come up with contexts for them to make a solution for.
    So far we have made..
    • an age calculator - how old in days, weeks, months
    • a general knowledge quiz, (true or false questions)
    • a countdown of the number of lessons left until the exam (using date today, exam date, number of lessons per week, how many weeks off between now and exam)
    • A class register - picking up names from an array and inputting if they are in the lesson
    Want to set them challenges to create a solution outside of the lesson, two winners for each solution - one for first fully working uploaded to class forum - second for most efficient solution. Just need to think of the challenge!
    Anybody got any good ideas?
  2. yep - do WJEC instead, miles easier ;)

    No, in all seriousness I had this problem with AQA, its impossible to prepare them for that exam, it truely is bizarre

    Maybe something to do with files, searches, sorts etc?.
    Maybe get them to code a bubble sort to order an array of exam grades, then write them out to a file for bonus points.
    Hope this helps in some way, haven't done AQA for a few years now

  3. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    If you give me an email address then I will send you some of the worksheets that I have used.
  4. Phew, have been trying to come up with solutions for a few weeks now - it seems such an easy task to do but when I do it I just end up with a blank sheet of paper!
    Thanks for the offer of resources a PM has been sent.

  5. madcat

    madcat Occasional commenter

    The British informatics Olympiad is a good source of programming ideas.
    While most of the questions set are probably beyond (some of) the students they can often be adapted and made a bit easier- reword; give hints; give code fragments; give out skeleton algorithms etc.
  6. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    I get most of my inspiration from old out of print books. There is a good selection here and here that can be downloaded as PDF files. I particularly like The Marvel Super Heroes Computer Fun (Books 1 & 2) which have loads of ideas in that can be modified into great lessons. The Usbourne books are also great (Computer Spacegames and Computer Battle Games etc.) I often pick copies of these up very cheaply from Ebay and give them away to students as prizes in competitions.
  7. gavcradd

    gavcradd New commenter

    Fantastic, thanks for the links! I've had a good look through some of those books and it reminds me so much of childhood... I can almost smell the paper and my Amstrad CPC keyboard!
    I had an Usborne programming book as a child that I treasured but I can't find it now :-( It was a general intro to Basic programming one and it had the robots in, it also had little symbols to show what to do differently for each machine (e.g TRS-80, Spectrum, etc). The one page I remember was one with the robots sailing down a sort of congo river on rafts, not sure why?! Any ideas?? It would have been early 80s.
  8. At the risk of stating the obvious - why don't you look at the skeleton programs from the last two years.
    This year's skeleton program will be available just after half term, then you can blitz that.
    This is all a matter of personal opinion - I like Comp1. My students tend to better on this paper than the pure theory paper.
    Bizarrely, some of them actually look forward to the exam!!
  9. I agree, i like COMP1. Much better than the old CPT3 coursework.
    We use VB console mode, how about
    a) a battleships game
    b) noughts and crosses game (an old COMP1 task)
    c) hangman game (old COMP1 task)
    I had a lad a year or two ago who wrote a version of Guitar Hero in VB console mode, legend..
  10. PS, someone gave me an excellent PDF document called
    Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Projects for the Classroom
    Google it, there's some decent ideas therein.
  11. PS: take a look at
    "Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Projects for the Classroom"
    Google it - has some good ideas?
  12. Thanks everyone, much appreciated.
    We have looked at the previous COMP1 programs but would like to keep looking at differ ways of doing things so they can experience as much as possible before the Skeleton program is out next term and as said we will blitz that is every way we can think of
    They also keep asking me what can they make outside the lesson and it is here where I get stuck! Never seen a class of 18 year 12 lads so motivated and focused... would like to keep it that way!
  13. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    The guy who runs that website actually sells disks with all of the books on. I paid $20 for 20 DVDs with every single book on. He personally scans then all in and turns them into PDFs. Must take him forever!
    I think I have the book you are talking about "Introduction to Computer Programming - BASIC for beginners" and every page has the robots on (as do all the Usbourne books of that era). I have had a look through but can't find the Congo page. Maybe it was a different book as all of them have the robots in. I paticularly like the intro to machine code book which I have used with my AS class together with a 6502 simulator website and a real Commodore 64. This really brings to life the topic of machine code/assembly language and the fetch-execute cycle in a fun way.
  14. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    As I said before I have bought cheap copies of the Usbourne books to give as prizes for programming challenges. Several of my brighter students spend hours and hours out of lessons trying to convert the games in these books to run on VB.NET console and they have learnt so much from it. It is really motivating for them and nostalgic for me [​IMG]
    As stated a few post above I really love the Marvel Super Heroes Computer Fun Books and I would love to give these away as prizes but they are very hard to come by. I recently bought a mint copy of each for £65!!! I have seen dog eared copies much cheaper.
  15. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    Have you looked at ruby quiz http://www.rubyquiz.com/ ; this is (obviously) aimed at ruby but a lot of the ideas could be used or tweaked :)
  16. Gave my lot a very extended task...with a "it's due in 2 weeks - work it out" message!
    Taught them how to do RegExp as part of A2 theory, but gave them the code in how to use them in vb.net. From this students then had a number of tasks...
    At a basic level, read in a surname, firstname and e-mail address, try the regex to make sure the e-mail is "allowable". Up this so it then takes in a number of names, with printing back on screen.
    This then progresses to being "hard" - with a menu asking for options to read in a new set of data, retrieve data from a file, display what is in a file, clear a file, more validation etc.
    There's any way possible that reading/writing to a file can be done, but ALL have to at least read/write to a text file. My best programmer expanded his work to connect to an Access database using object orientation, but ALL managed to get most of the tasks working...I seem to have lost the task sheet so this is done from memory!!
    They seemed to enjoy doing it and have gained lots in working on the task... I think they're better programmers as a result of it!
  17. It's interesting reading this - I teach programmiong to lower ability pupils - the experiences of those contributing here seems to be in a different World.
    Sounds nice!
  18. I've got to agree here, WJEC I found looks a lot better.

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