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Australian Computing Academy - unplugged DT resources

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We'll be sharing free unplugged resources for primary and secondary teachers of digital technologies and computing. These are aligned to the Australian Curriculum and are prepared by our team of educational and computing experts. These are being provided for teachers and parents to support at home learning. These resources are in addition to our extensive range of online programming courses for students which are available at aca.edu.au/resources.

We'll be sharing free unplugged resources for primary and secondary teachers of digital technologies and computing. These are aligned to the Australian Curriculum and are prepared by our team of educational and computing experts. These are being provided for teachers and parents to support at home learning. These resources are in addition to our extensive range of online programming courses for students which are available at aca.edu.au/resources.
Pirate Treasure Hunt (computing activity)
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Pirate Treasure Hunt (computing activity)

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Follow the steps to reach the treasure! This non-programming activity for Years 3-6 introduces the key concepts of making decisions (using the IF…THEN…ELSE construct) and iteration (with simple loops). Download this unplugged resource here. – DT@Home - Activities designed to be completed at home with minimal teacher interaction. Suitable for parents looking to engage their students with Digital Technologies concepts. Explore more free online and unplugged resources teaching programming and digital technologies here: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
Number Guessing with Algorithms (computing activity)
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Number Guessing with Algorithms (computing activity)

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I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 100. Can you guess it? Play a number guessing game, then think about the best way to play the game to win. Create a set of instructions anyone can follow to guess a number in the fewest number of guesses. Create an algorithm and use it in a harder version of the game. – DT@Home - Activities designed to be completed at home with minimal teacher interaction. Suitable for parents looking to engage their students with Digital Technologies concepts. Explore more free online and unplugged resources teaching programming and digital technologies here: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
Flat Pack Lego (computing activity)
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Flat Pack Lego (computing activity)

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Help someone else to recreate your LEGO creations by writing the best instructions possible! This is a highly-engaging introduction to algorithmic thinking as it challenges students to think about the steps and definitions needed to build LEGO creations. This free offline activity for Years 3-4 is expected to take between 30 minutes to an hour. – DT@Home - Activities designed to be completed at home with minimal teacher interaction. Suitable for parents looking to engage their students with Digital Technologies concepts. Explore more free online and unplugged resources teaching programming and digital technologies here: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
Indoor Scavenger Hunt (computing activity)
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Indoor Scavenger Hunt (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for secondary school students. It will take around an hour to complete and is aimed at students in years 7 to 10. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, data representation. In this activity, students solve seven puzzles to navigate their way around the house to find a hidden treasure. Puzzles are solved by applying a range of data representation, binary number, pixel graphic, morse code and simple cryptography skills. It is targeted towards secondary students and is expected to take 15 to 45 minutes. Care has been taken to choose rooms that are representative of typical Australian households, However, if your settings are different, we ask parents and carers to be creative. For example, if you don’t have a study, then designate an area in your house or unit (for example a wardrobe) and call it study. Encryption and data representation are important ideas in computing. Encryption allows computers to communicate securely with one another. We use secure ciphers (which are much harder to crack than the ones in this activity) to protect communication on the Internet, e.g. to stop hackers getting our credit card details when we shop online. Without encryption, every message we send is at risk. Many ideas can be communicated using symbols and conventions. In this activity, dots, dashes, pixel graphics and strings of 1s and 0s are all used to communicate important information. Computers also use conventions to store different kinds of data, including using binary numbers.
DT Laundry (computing activity)
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DT Laundry (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for primary school students. It will take around an hour to complete and is aimed at students in years F to 4. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, data representation. We use conventions and shared context to understand the signs and symbols around us. For example, we understand that a walking green person means it is safe to cross the street. But only because we all agree that is what it means! Many ideas can be communicated using symbols and conventions. Laundry symbols are an example of a convention that can be confusing even if you’ve been washing clothes for years! Computers also use conventions to store different kinds of data using binary numbers. In this activity we teach students to recognise how to represent ideas (a.k.a data) using symbols in real life examples. In later years, students can transfer their understanding of symbols and abstraction in the real world to the world of digital technologies.
Unscrambling a secret message (computing)
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Unscrambling a secret message (computing)

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This is an unplugged activity for primary and secondary school students. It will take around an hour to complete and is aimed at students in years 5 to 8. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, digital systems and cryptography. We can make a message secret by changing the letters to create an encrypted message. This change process is called a cipher. Anyone who knows the cipher can reverse it, decrypting the secret message to get the original back. The message is still there, but hidden, because we’ve changed how we represent it. Simple ciphers, such as Pig Latin or Caesar Cipher, can be cracked to find the original message and the cipher. We use secure ciphers (that are extremely hard to crack) to protect communication on the Internet, e.g. to stop hackers getting our credit card details when we shop online. Without encryption, every message we send is at risk. In this activity, the message is encrypted by swapping letters (a substitution cipher). There is no pattern to how they are swapped, except that each letter always swaps to the same one. Here, the cipher encrypts every G by swapping it to an A, so to decrypt the message, we must swap every A back to an G. You can crack the substitution cipher to find the original message by looking for familiar words and letter patterns in the encrypted message.
Graph Paths and Circuits (computing activity)
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Graph Paths and Circuits (computing activity)

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An introduction to working with Hamiltonian and Eulerian Circuits and Paths to solve problems. In this activity for Years 7-10 you will learn the basics of finding graph paths and circuits. You will learn what they are and the different kinds of problems that you can solve by drawing and working from graphs, and get an introduction to how you can construct your own. Download this free offline activity here. – DT@Home - Activities designed to be completed at home with minimal teacher interaction. Suitable for parents looking to engage their students with Digital Technologies concepts. Explore more free online and unplugged resources teaching programming and digital technologies here: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
DT @ Home Primary Workbook (computing activity)
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DT @ Home Primary Workbook (computing activity)

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All of our DT @ Home resources for primary students in one pdf to download and print. DT @ Home activities are curriculum based digital technologies activities which don’t require a computer or wifi connection and make use of resources around your home. Answers, curriculum links and follow on activities are included for each activity. – More offline and online resources on the ACA website: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
DT @ Home Secondary Workbook (computing activity)
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DT @ Home Secondary Workbook (computing activity)

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All of our DT @ Home resources for secondary students in one pdf to download and print. DT @ Home activities are curriculum based digital technologies activities which don’t require a computer or wifi connection and make use of resources around your home. Answers, curriculum links and follow on activities are included for each activity. – More offline and online resources on the ACA website: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
LAN Party (computing activity)
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LAN Party (computing activity)

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This one-hour activity teaches students how IP addresses - the addresses that identify computers - determine the network a computer belongs to. Free download of this unplugged resource for Years 9-10 here. – DT@Home - Activities designed to be completed at home with minimal teacher interaction. Suitable for parents looking to engage their students with Digital Technologies concepts. Explore more free online and unplugged resources teaching programming and digital technologies here: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
Tech Talk find a word (computing activity)
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Tech Talk find a word (computing activity)

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Find all the technology words on the sheet and in your house! A fun find-a-word activity to improve younger students’ awareness of Digital Systems and develop their vocabulary and spelling. – DT@Home - Activities designed to be completed at home with minimal teacher interaction. Suitable for parents looking to engage their students with Digital Technologies concepts. Explore more free online and unplugged resources teaching programming and digital technologies here: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
Race Up If Mountain! (computing activity)
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Race Up If Mountain! (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for primary school students. It will take around an hour and a half to complete and is aimed at students in years 3 to 6. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, algorithms. This activity is designed to teach decision making in programming as well as starting to teach students about variables. The game is based on a path up a mountain blocked with a number of smaller ‘if mountains’ that must be passed to reach the finish. The students must roll the dice and follow the flowchart at each mountain, trying to roll a number that will allow them to pass. The statements have been written in flowcharts that mimic the decision making of computers. It is targeted towards primary students in years 5-6 and can be expected to take between 1 and 1.5 hours to complete. An extension for students that are familiar with Python syntax has been included but is by no means expected. In the extension the flowcharts have been translated into Python coded ‘If statements’ (the name for decision making statements in code). The Python statements are logically identical to the flowcharts and can be used concurrently for students that are keen but inexperienced.
Cracking a code (computing activity)
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Cracking a code (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for primary school students. It will take around an hour to complete and is aimed at students in years 4 to 6. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, cryptography and password security. How many guesses will it take to crack the code set by your partner? Students do this activity with a parent / carer / sibling. Player 1 chooses a three digit code using only numbers between 1 and 6 (for example 235 or 532 or 625 but not 743). Player 2 has 10 chances to guess the number. After each guess Player 1 gives Player 2 information to help them improve their guess. Students then consider what makes a password secure, with a particular focus on password length.
Robot Dance (computing activity)
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Robot Dance (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for primary school students. It will take around one to two hours to complete and is aimed at students in years F to 2. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, data representation. Students create a set of instructions for someone else to follow. Computers follow instructions when they perform many tasks (like opening an app or playing a video). The instructions given to computers are very clear so that every computer will follow the instructions in the same way. Instructions are also found in other places like recipes. Instructions are followed in order from start to finish. Instructions don’t need to be written - they can be pictures, sounds and symbols. These pictures, sounds and symbols are examples of how we represent things around us. For example, we might use a book picture to represent a book. It’s not an actual book, but we understand that we are talking about books when we see this symbol. There are many examples of representation in our homes - symbols on our clothes tell us how to wash them, and packaged food in your pantry contains symbols to explain how healthy it is, or how to recycle packaging, to name a few. How many other examples can you find?
TV Torment (computing activity)
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TV Torment (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for secondary school students. It will take around an hour and a half to complete and is aimed at students in years 7 to 12. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, computer-human interactions. How we interact with technology has a major impact on both our likelihood to continue using it and how widespread its adoption becomes. In this activity, we ask students to compare two different remote control devices, and ask them to reflect on which aspects of the designs are appealing. We’ll learn a little about what makes an interface intuitive and enjoyable to use, and how poor design decisions can turn users away from a product or application.
Card Switches (computing activity)
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Card Switches (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for secondary school students. It will take around an hour to complete and is aimed at students in years 7 to 10. It teaches digital technologies and computing, in particular, algorithms. Computers need to sort things into order all the time, for example, if you use the ‘sort by’ filter on a website the computer has to read through everything on the page and re-sort it depending on your selection. This activity gets you to think like a computer, using specific steps to compare and sort cards. As well as sorting into order, you are also going to scramble the cards up as best you can! The more switches it takes you to sort them back into order, the better job you did scrambling. For example, a set requiring only one switch to be sorted has not been scrambled very well.
We’re going on a computer hunt (computing activity)
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We’re going on a computer hunt (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for primary school students. It will take around an hour to complete and is aimed at students in years F-2. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, digital systems. We are surrounded by computers and digital systems, often without realizing it. Some digital systems are obvious - a laptop computer, or a smartphone. Others are much harder to find, because they don’t look like a computer. A washing machine, air conditioner or fridge that adapts to different situations probably contains a computer. Cars are full of digital systems to help us with navigation, safety, entertainment and driving. Digital systems are made of components. On a laptop, components include a screen, keyboard, power supply, processor, and storage. Digital systems also consist of both hardware and software. Hardware is what you can see and touch (or physical parts inside the device) while software is the code that gives the device instructions to perform a specific task. Digital systems are created to do a specific task: for example, a smart washing machine is really good at washing clothes, but terrible at toasting bread. A laptop lets us view, change, and create data. You wouldn’t expect it to keep food cold though! In this activity students explore digital systems around them and consider the components that make those systems, and what the purpose of the system is.
Wombot: Carrot Hunt (computing activity)
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Wombot: Carrot Hunt (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for primary school students. It will take around an hour to complete and is aimed at students in years 5 to 6. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, algorithms. We use algorithms to solve all sorts of problems around us. Algorithms are sequences of steps, or procedures, that lead us from a starting position to a goal. Some algorithms can be described easily (think about the recipe for making a cake), whilst others are harder to describe (think about a Sudoku puzzle). The algorithm in this activity is somewhere between a cake recipe and a Sudoku puzzle: there are some procedural steps, and a bit of trial and error.
Maze Escape (computing activity)
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Maze Escape (computing activity)

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Can you get to the centre of the maze with the fewest instructions? Create an algorithm, or set of instructions, to navigate through a maze. Choose from a finite set of commands, and create the best instructions you can to get through the maze with the fewest number of instructions. This activity is targeted towards students in years 5 to 8 and will take 1 to 2 hours. – DT@Home - Activities designed to be completed at home with minimal teacher interaction. Suitable for parents looking to engage their students with Digital Technologies concepts. Explore more free online and unplugged resources teaching programming and digital technologies here: https://aca.edu.au/resources/
Spaceship Rescue (computing activity)
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Spaceship Rescue (computing activity)

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This is an unplugged activity for secondary school students. It will take around an hour to complete and is aimed at students in years 7 to 10. It teaches digital technologies and computing. In particular, algorithms. We use algorithms to solve all sorts of problems around us. Algorithms are sequences of steps, or procedures, that lead us from a starting position to a goal. Some algorithms can be described easily (think about the recipe for making a cake), whilst others are harder to describe (think about a Sudoku puzzle). The algorithm in this activity is somewhere between a cake recipe and a Sudoku puzzle. Two parts of it are purely procedural, whilst some other parts require trial and error, heuristics, or gut feeling. Rest assured, it is completely based on the laws and logic and can be described as a computer algorithm, just like a Sudoku puzzle can be solved by an algorithm. Students interested in taking this activity further can try to create a computer game that implements the ideas in this activity.