Computing KS2: Selection

This short film covers the use of selection in simple computer programs, and shows how this idea of yes/no questions can allow computers to respond to external conditions and select different paths.

The film also introduces the idea of more complicated choices or selections that use 'if', 'then' and 'else' responses to guide the path through the program.

It looks at more complex applications of selection, including the programs used to control the Mars Rover.

This short film is from the BBC Teach series, Cracking Computing.

Teaching Notes

The idea of making choices, or selection, can be introduced by playing games that include question and answer, like Guess Who.

Pupils could create flow charts to explore the selection processes in everyday activities that include choices - like doing homework, or choosing what to wear for school. The idea of if/else/then selection works well with more complicated real life situations that the pupils are already familiar with.

Software tools like Scratch can be used to create simple programs that respond to yes/no choices and selection. For example, a simple quiz game with different sounds for right or wrong answers.

Looking at everyday school technology, like automatic doors and lights, key fob security systems, etc. can lead to more complicated flow diagrams and programs that include response to input from sensors that will inform the choices made by the program.

Physical systems like electronic construction kits and floor robots can be used to connect selection in programs to real world outcomes.

Other subjects

Maths: Flow charts with selection could be introduced to help create and solve maths problems and puzzles. For example, finding a secret number by asking questions like, “Is it an even number?” or “Is it a multiple of 5?”

Design & technology: Using construction kits with programming can really focus learning on the outcome of selection in real world situations, like a model buggy that turns headlights on when the lights are turned off in the classroom.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching:

  • KS2 computing curriculum in England
  • Technologies curriculum area at 2nd Level in Scotland
  • KS2 digital competence framework in Wales
  • KS2 using ICT cross-curricular skill in Northern Ireland

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