Computer Science KS3 / KS4: What is abstraction?

A teenage programmer finds out how to use abstraction in programming.

She gives instructions to her "computer" - a human figure with a monitor for a head.

She asks him to let people in for a dance audition, only choosing those who can dance and want to dance.

Because she doesn't specify in her code that the dancers have to be human, an enthusiastic little dog is among those selected to audition.

Abstraction means telling a computer what information is important and what isn't.

These clips are from the series How to Think Like a Computer.

Teacher Notes

Discuss other situations and abstract the main parts, e.g., look at games (board or computer) and abstract the main parts.

Link to object oriented programming, hiding of data and encapsulation.

Discuss the contributions of women in IT such as Ada Lovelace as the main character is called Ada.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Computer Science at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd Level in Scotland.

More from the series How to Think Like a Computer

Algorithms
video
What is decomposition?
video
Pattern Recognition
video