Computing KS2: Sequencing

This short film covers the concept of sequencing, or making sure things are in the right order, and explores what might happen if things are done in the wrong order, or sequence.

The film starts with some real world examples, including getting dressed and making a sandwich, and explores what might happen if things are done in the wrong order, or sequence.

It also looks at how instructions need to be precise and unambiguous.

The film then expands this idea into the more complex real world example of an automated factory, and then a simple program for a computer game.

It also looks at the importance of sequencing in the computer programs behind larger applications, like air traffic control systems.

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

Teaching Notes

The importance of sequencing instructions accurately in computer programs can be explored initially using practical activities and games where instructions are given and the outcome depends on the quality of those instructions.

Pupils could pretend to be robots waiting for instructions and follow them precisely to complete a simple task. This might work well as part of a PE lesson, using simple hall apparatus to create an obstacle course that must be navigated by the ‘robot’ under instruction from a team of ‘programmers’.

It is important that pupils are clear about their intention for the outcome of the sequence of instructions (the algorithm). This will allow them to see mistakes and correct them, or debug.

Floor robots and other physical systems or simulations can be useful when starting work on sequencing as the outcome of each part of the sequence is visually obvious. This makes debugging a natural part of the activity.

Other subjects

English: Sequencing fits into several areas of non-fiction writing, including instructions and explanations of a process. Comparisons can be made between these kinds of texts and simple computer programs and algorithms.

Maths: Creating and solving number sequence puzzles would work well to support this concept and introduce the idea of rules governing the way the sequence progresses. For example, “add five” or “multiply by two and then add four”, etc.

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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