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Cracking the Code Creating interactive 'App Toys' using smartphones and bespoke hardware

Many toys already include computers. An ‘App Toy’ combines dedicated toy hardware with a smartphone or tablet to create a highly interactive toy. The toy uses sensors built into the smartphone. This can include its microphone, camera and accelerometer, as well as its built-in software for voice recognition. The image displayed on the screen is reflected on a mirror inside ...
  • 2013
  • 00:09:08
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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Cracking the Code Programming a webcam

Two young coders and science presenter Minna Kane meet an amateur photographer who uses a helium balloon to carry a Raspberry Pi computer, webcam and radio transmitter high enough to take pictures of the curve of the Earth. Dave holds the world record for the highest photograph ever taken by an amateur, and shows the children how he’s programmed a ...
  • 2013
  • 00:08:41
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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Cracking the Code Programming a computer game

A Grade 5 class is using Scratch visual programming language to create their own computer games. We see the children at Code Club, writing their own instructions for the sprites (or characters) in a cat and mouse chase game. They talk science presenter Minna Kane through their use of commands such as FOREVER, REPEAT, IF/THEN and adding sounds to their ...
  • 2013
  • 00:04:01
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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Cracking the Code Programming robots to play football

Two young coders find out about the instructions that tell robots what to do, looking at the code that operates both a robot football team and an ICub robot that is capable of learning new things. Science reporter Minna Kane takes them to Plymouth University to meet the Black Ninjas, a robot football team who play in the robot World ...
  • 2013
  • 00:08:54
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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Cracking the Code Programming a robotic toy car

A primary school class codes a set of instructions to tell a robotic toy car to drive to a specific location on a town plan. They will use just three instructions – FORWARD, TURN 90 DEGREES RIGHT, TURN 90 DEGREES LEFT – to get the car to its destination without hitting any shops. They try it on the classroom floor ...
  • 2013
  • 00:05:15
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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Cracking the Code Creating a simple automated driving simulator

A primary school class is using Scratch visual programming language to code instructions to make a car race around a track, helped by science presenter Minna Kane. They first draw the track using paint tools, then pick a car “Sprite”, or icon, to instruct to drive around it. They paint the headlights of the car different colours, and use IF/THEN ...
  • 2013
  • 00:05:12
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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Cracking the Code Simulating the experience of F1 racing

Two young coders find out about the physics and data processing that goes into creating a realistic simulator for F1 drivers to use in training. Science presenter Minna Kane takes them to ride with a professional F1 driver at Silverstone, before visiting the University of Hertfordshire’s simulator. The simulator hardware includes high resolution screens, realistic controls and hydraulic legs to ...
  • 2013
  • 00:07:37
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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Cracking the Code Creating computer generated visual effects

Two young coders visit BBC TV Centre to find out how code is used in making Dr Who. We see archive Dr Who footage, and hear how the storyline used to be limited by the number of Dalek props that could be physically built. Science presenter Minna Kane tells us that modern episodes of Dr Who make extensive use of ...
  • 2013
  • 00:07:05
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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How to Think Like a Computer Search engines

The term 'search engine' is explained through everyday activities and events. Computer Head is trying to find a single item in a pile of hay and is doing this by going through all the individual strands of hay. His friend Ada suggests that a search engine would be the best way to search through lots of items to find the ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:06
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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How to Think Like a Computer What is decomposition?

A teenage programmer discovers how decomposition works through trial and error. She tries asking her computer to go shopping for her but he doesn't understand. She realizes she has to break down the task into a list of simple instructions to follow. With a clear set of ordered instructions, the computer goes to the shop, collects the items, pays for ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:11
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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How to Think Like a Computer Searching algorithms

The concept of a searching algorithm is explained through everyday activities and events. The characters are a teenage girl (Ada) and her friend Computer Head (CH). Ada interacts with CH and teaches him, and us, the concept of a searching algorithm. Ada uses keywords in her explanation to CH and shows how, if he had to search through a massive ...
  • 2016
  • 00:02:44
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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How to Think Like a Computer Sorting algorithms

A teenage programmer (Ada) is sorting through photos to put them into an album, and this is proving to be a very long and laborious task. She then thinks of using a sorting algorithm and enlists the help of her friend CH (Computer Head). They decide to apply the steps of the sorting algorithm to organize the photos and place ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:08
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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How to Think Like a Computer Checking your algorithm

A teenage programmer evaluates the instructions she's written to tell her computer how to mop the floor. She checks if they're in the right order, if she's included all the steps, and if her instructions are precise enough. She tests them after each change to see if there is anything she has forgotten. Teacher notes: Units of measurement can be ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:10
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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How to Think Like a Computer Pattern recognition

A teenage programmer is giving her computer instructions on making a sandwich. She realizes that the pattern of slicing and layering are repeated – and finds this useful in writing her code. She uses a similar set of slicing and layering instructions to try to get the computer to make her dessert – with less success. Teacher Notes: Jumping off ...
  • 2016
  • 00:02:53
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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How to Think Like a Computer 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 ...
  • 2016
  • 00:03:00
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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How to Think Like a Computer Algorithms

A teenage programmer creates an algorithm to teach her computer a dance routine. An algorithm is a clear sequence of instructions with a start, a finish, and usually some decisions in the middle. They can be expressed in a flow chart. The computer only makes mistakes if there are mistakes in the instructions.
  • 2016
  • 00:02:39
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 09/03/2019

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Cracking the Code Programming a robot crocodile

A class build a Lego crocodile and use Raspberry Pi computers and the Scratch programming language to make it snap its jaws! Science presenter Minna Kane explains how you can plug your keyboard and monitor into a tiny Raspberry Pi computer and use open source coding software to program it. We see a primary school class build model crocodiles out ...
  • 2013
  • 00:04:02
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 08/21/2019

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Cracking the Code What are bitmap graphics?

A primary school class use black and white squares to represent the pixels that make up images as bitmaps. In an exercise to show how computer graphics are made, two teams are given pictures to make out of just black and white squares. The instructions are in binary code; a 0 means a white square and a 1 a black ...
  • 2013
  • 00:04:33
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 08/21/2019

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The National Computer Coding Concepts Explained

Algorithms, loops, "if" statements – what do they actually mean? Paul Gries, senior lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Toronto, explains these coding basics.
  • 2015
  • 00:01:45
  • 9-12
  • Added on: 09/15/2017

News in Review - October 2015 ​Coding for Kids: Programming the Future

Computers govern our lives, at school, at home, at work. Even smart phones are basically a small computer. Yet most of us know very little about how to program them. That's a problem some educators are addressing today. They’re putting computer coding into the school curriculum so children can learn how to interface with their future.
  • 2015
  • 00:12:04
  • 13-14
  • Added on: 10/14/2015

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