Use a number-guessing game that pushes students to use binary search in a fun and interactive activity that allows you to introduce binary sort in a grounded manner.

    • This following activity is great for the first day of class because it allows you to get students to describe algorithms early in the class even before you’ve introduced the formal language of an algorithm.

    • Activity:

      • Tell students that you’ve picked a number 1-100 and they need to guess the number.

      • Let students guess numbers one at a time and you tell them if it is higher or lower than their guess.

      • Discuss the different strategies that different age kids would use - e.g.

        • Guess each number starting from 1 (i.e. 1, 2, 3, ...)

        • Guess numbers completely randomly

        • Guess numbers using a binary search.

      • Later, you can connect this activity to the technical term of "algorithm" and explain that your algorithm had to be really precise.

    • You can find this activity( ) and more at

  • Try to calculate how to make 5 million cookies as a class to introduce parallelism in an engaging way.

    • Activity:

      • Tell students a story about a group of kids who want to break the world record of the number of cookies.

      • Ask students how long it takes to make one batch of cookies.

      • Ask how many people must be making cookies.

More about this tip

External Source

Interview with Tammy Pirmann