The electronic devices that you use every day rely on computer code to work. From a cellphone to a washing machine, computer code is used to give instructions to a device.

As computers can only understand binary instructions, using just 0s and 1s, computer languages are used to write the instructions and convert them into binary.

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

## Teaching Ideas

• An algorithm is a set of instructions to perform a task. Before they start working on a computer or device, ask children to write a set of instructions to perform a simple, precise task. For example, write a set of instructions to navigate a simple maze. Ask someone else to perform the instructions exactly as written – can they complete the task successfully?
• Use the Code For Life Rapid Router Online resources to guide children through building a program in small steps.
• Try one of these “unplugged” coding activities to help your children understand how to construct an algorithm.
• Try making a game in Scratch, based on your current book or topic.
• Ask your class to decompose a game, analysing it to find out how it works and what objects it uses. These resources from code-it contain everything you need to try this approach with a game called Magic Carpet.
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## Resources

• Use some of the ideas in this great post from Doug Stitcher when you are planning your coding unit.
• Our Coding and Programming banners are perfect for your display board.
• Download these Hour of Code resources, including colourful posters and complete lesson plans for teaching coding.
• The Tynker website has plenty of coding projects, from beginner to advanced, for children to work through at their own pace.
• You will find lesson plans and resources for teaching coding on the micro:bit site.

## Coding Facts

• Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is considered the first computer programmer; in 1842 she wrote an algorithm (set of instructions) to use an early computer to calculate numbers. The computer (Babbage’s Analytical Engine) was never finished.
• The term “bug” for a problem in a program comes from a real bug – a moth which got trapped in a computer at Harvard University in 1947!
• A program that uses malicious code to copy itself and infect computers, is known as a virus.
• There are hundreds of different computer languages. Lots of them are very similar, so once you know one it is easier to learn others.
• The oldest computer language still in use, FORTRAN, was released by IBM in 1957.

## Videos

#### Blast off Coding in Scratch

A lesson on using variables in gaming for children aged 9-11, including a coding challenge

Running time: 24.55

#### What is Computer Coding?

This short video (the first in a series) is a good introduction to coding and how computers and other devices use programs.

Running time: 1:55

#### What is an Algorithm?

A simple explanation of algorithms for younger children.

Running time: 1:07

#### Program a Robotic Car

A primary class show how they programmed a car to drive to a location. Running Time:

Running time: 5:31

## Books

##### Ant Clancy, Games Detective
Can Ant and his friends work out what is really doing on with the hit game Ray-Chay? Find out in this detective story.
##### Dot.
Dot knows how to interact with technology, but what about the real world?
##### Secret Coders
The first graphic novel in a series about the secret coders of Stately Academy.
##### Get Coding!
Learn how to write code and build a website, app and game.
##### Star Wars Coding Projects
Use this visual guide to build your own Star Wars projects in Scratch.
##### Coding Projects with Scratch Made Easy
Complete beginners can get started with Scratch using this book.
##### 100 Things to Know About Numbers, Computers & Coding
Find out more about numbers, computers and coding in this fascinating, fact-filled book.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!