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"PD - Algorithms" Steps 2-6 from Mouse Create

Author: Mouse Create

Mouse Create, create.mouse.org/project/806968/step/1.

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Algorithm Defined

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a visual 7-step recipe for mac and cheese
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An algorithm can be defined as a sequence of well-defined, precise steps for solving a problem.

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An algorithm must terminate (come to an end) to produce an answer or final outcome. For instance, the image above is a popular example of an algorithm used in everyday life, a recipe. All recipes are algorithms since they use a sequence of precise steps that eventually terminate to produce a final outcome (a meal).

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Jul 26
Nile G (Jul 26 2021 4:49PM) : I think what makes Algorithms great is that they teach students structure which is great form of discipline when teaching them a new concept. People in general learn best when they are presented with new concepts to master in sequential order.
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Jul 29
mirseda K (Jul 29 2021 7:03AM) : Algorithms more

I totally agree with your comment. If students have some kind of instructions to follow they perform better. That is very important in Algorithms. It contains standards that help students to understand better new concepts.

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Aug 2
Aniya M (Aug 02 2021 10:45AM) : Teaching students about algorithims can be beneficial on multiple facets because aside from presenting students to the concept as a whole, they are also being introduced to new and useful vocabulary that can be taken with them across subjects.
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Jul 24
Tom B (Jul 24 2021 8:24AM) : Besides a recipe, can you think of at least two examples of an algorithm in your daily life or used in a classroom?
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Jul 25
Jen R (Jul 25 2021 11:12AM) : Examples of algorithms in daily life more

For my partner, making coffee in the aeropress is an algorithm triggered by waking up in the morning and must be executed before anything else can be done.
1. Walk in kitchen
2. Flip on electric kettle.
3. Flip on grinder.
4. Put 2 equals in cup.
5. Pour coffee grinds into aeropress.
6. Pour hot water over grinds and let steep.
7. Take half & half out of fridge.
8. Pour several tablespoons half & half into cup.
9. Pour Microwave cup with equal & half and half for 45 seconds.
10. Stir water and coffee grinds.
11. Place filter and lid on aeropress.
12. Flip aeropress over cup and press down to extract coffee.

A fire drill would be an algorithm used in a school. I couldn’t break down the steps right now though.

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Jul 26
Mary Anne H (Jul 26 2021 10:01AM) : In a classroom arrival, in daily life driving to the supermarket. more

In the classroom, depending on the teacher the algorithm is enter the classroom, go to your desk , remove items from your back pack, go to cubby (or alternate location) hang up back pack and coat if you have one, return to seat, start morning independent work. Going to the grocery store would be write list, forget list on kitchen table, walk to car, start car, put in reverse, leave driveway, put car in drive right turn, right turn, straight for 7 blocks, right turn, left into store parking lot, park, lock doors, walk to store, grab a wipe, wipe cart, throw out wipe, enter store, realize I don’t have my list, decide I don’t need one, walk around store picking up some items on the list and many not on the list, go to check out, hand cashier my discount card, put items and bags on conveyor, remove packed bags and put in shopping cart, walk to car, up pack bags into trunk, put cart back, get back in car, start car….you get the point…..

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Jul 26
Priscilla A (Jul 26 2021 5:33PM) : Example of Algorithms more

Algorithms are used not only by technology but also by humans.Every action we take that involves a series of tasks is an algorithm. Brushing one’s teeth is an example of a human algorithm other than a recipe. Picking your brush, putting toothpaste on your brush, brushing your teeth, rinsing your mouth, and wiping your mouth are some of them.

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Jul 29
Elijah H (Jul 29 2021 7:27PM) : Good point more

I like that you pointed out that algorithms are not only used by technology, but also by humans in daily activities. I think what many people understand about algorithms can be misconceptions because we may not realize something as simple as making a recipe or managing time and following directions to travel to work is an algorithm we have learned to execute over time.

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Jul 31
Oluwatoyin I (Jul 31 2021 9:22PM) : Algorithms more

I also like the idea that we do not just use algorithms for technology, for me that my daily life entails doing what I like doing which is cooking/baking its easy to see that a step by step process is involved in what I do to get my desired result.

Algorithms in Everyday Life

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a visual 7-step recipe for mac and cheese
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In daily life, we use algorithms to describe solutions to problems and we use them to accomplish tasks. Some problems only have one possible algorithm to solve a problem such as “Subtract a number from 5 to make it 4”. However, most problems we aim to solve in the real world have multiple algorithms that can act as a solution to the problem. An example of this is directions to get from one place to another.

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Aug 2
Aniya M (Aug 02 2021 10:48AM) : It is so interesting to see that algorithims, though we may not call them that on a daily basis, are a part of our everyday life. It makes me question what other practices that I engage in may be tied to Computer Science.
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Aug 17
Abigail B (Aug 17 2021 11:01PM) : This is so true and that is what we need to teach kid that all squared holes don't have to have square pegs but rather they can have 2 right angled pegs to make it perfect. This is the problem solving quality of scratch I believe.
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Jul 27
Khurram A (Jul 27 2021 2:04PM) : That is what makes math beautiful, its flexibility to solve problems in different ways.
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Aug 17
Abigail B (Aug 17 2021 11:03PM) : my point exactly Khurram. The beauty of scratch and its algorithms is to help kids problem solve by being creative.
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Jul 29
Laura D (Jul 29 2021 11:42AM) : I agree with this sentence. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed trying looking for a solution to a problem, that we do not realize that there are many ways to solve the problem. more

I believe this is beautiful and important to teach children that a problem have can have different solutions.

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Step 4: Algorithms in Computer Science

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A program with steps to make a square
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Jul 24
Tom B (Jul 24 2021 8:25AM) : ☞ What action must be taken for the computer to execute this program? ☞ What is the intended final outcome of this program?
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Jul 25
Jen R (Jul 25 2021 11:12AM) : Algorithm in image more

The space key must be pressed.

I think it is to walk in a circle and return to the original starting point.

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Jul 26
Mary Anne H (Jul 26 2021 9:51AM) : Press space bar, do a flip more

To execute the program you need to press the space key. The intended outcome, I believe is for the sprite to do a complete flip and land back in it’s original position

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Computer programs execute (run or carry out a command) algorithms. In a program, the steps of an algorithm are implemented in a programming language. Algorithms and their implementations as a program need to not only terminate but produce the intended result.

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It is important to note that algorithms should be written in such a way that anyone could reach the solution by following the steps provided. For example, you may write a series of steps to go to the grocery store by car, but you must specify that this algorithm will only work from a specific starting location. Therefore, it is important for the writer of the algorithm to clearly define the problem space and the constraints for which this algorithm will apply.

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Jul 29
Laura D (Jul 29 2021 11:56AM) : Reading this sentence, I realized that algorithms might sound like easy things to do. more

However, when we write something in an algorithm, especially in a classroom, we have to keep in mind that it needs to be created based on each students’ learning needs.

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Aug 2
Aniya M (Aug 02 2021 10:51AM) : Teaching students about the importance of accuracy and clarity in their work through means of algorithims can be effective in helping them develop their critical thinking and communication skills.

Algorithm Bias

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a justice scale filled with binary lettering
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In the previous step, it was stated that the creator of an algorithm (programmer) has the power to define the problem space and constraints of their algorithm. This can lead to the programmer intentionally or unintentionally embed their values and biases. In Computer Science this systematic and repeatable computer system that creates unfair outcomes, such as privileging one arbitrary group of users over others is referred to as Algorithm Bias.

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Jul 27
Khurram A (Jul 27 2021 2:17PM) : Kind of similar to biases we have in our lives in terms of how we view others, computers are blind to these identities, but it is our job that we keep our programs accessible to all.

There are many unfortunate examples of algorithm bias in software today leading to inequity. This is true for individuals creating their own algorithms and for some of the largest tech companies in the world. Recognizing and making efforts to avoid algorithm bias early on is the only way to make attempts for a more equitable world with technology.

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Aug 2
Aniya M (Aug 02 2021 10:57AM) : It was interesting to read about algorithim bias because I would have never thought that technology would be capable of that. It shows that the topic of bias can be explored across domains, allowing students to see the wide scope in which bias operates.

Algorithms in Math and Science

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an example of a long division equation
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In math classes, algorithms help students learn to multiply and divide, to find the greatest common divisor (GCD), and to solve a system of linear equations. When a student is prompted with a math problem, they can discover that they are using an algorithm that solves the problem they are currently working on while someone else points out that they followed the same steps to solve a different math problem.

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For students in the sciences, the most common algorithms that they encounter are those based on the scientific method and the procedures that they develop to conduct an experiment. At the abstract level, experiments involve a pattern of making conjectures, deriving predictions from those conjectures, and then testing those conjectures in an experimental process. More specifically, the experimental process can involve a series of steps that are recorded so that the experiment is replicable using the algorithm.

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Algorithms in Other Subjects

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Algorithms can be applied to non-STEM fields, although in many cases the formal algorithm may not be apparent to the student until direct attention is drawn to it.

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In classes students take, algorithms are used to learn skills and to execute procedures in a correct and efficient way. Below are some common algorithmic examples that can be used to connect algorithms to processes common to student behavior.

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  • Making an outline of a book chapter
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  • Creating a historical map
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  • The steps for how a bill becomes a law
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  • The steps for writing an essay (brainstorming, outlining, drafting)
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    Jul 27
    Khurram A (Jul 27 2021 2:19PM) : We all have gone through this in our grade school years and although we did not know it we can always think of this as an algorithm we are familiar with.
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  • Organizing materials for an Art project
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The Importance of Algorithms

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a teacher with a book working with their students
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Algorithms are a part of everything we do and everything we teach. Regardless of the students and subject you are teaching, your students are creating and/or following algorithms and many of them might not even realize it. However, computational thinking occurs in a student’s mind when they are made aware of the algorithmic thinking and practice they are conducting.

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Jul 26
Maritza M (Jul 26 2021 5:04PM) : Algorithms are everywhere more

Algorithms can be described as daily activities in our everyday life. For example, every morning I have to calculate my time wisely in order to be able to make it to work on time. I set my alarm at 6:30 and have 45 minutes to get ready because the bus usually arrives at the nearest bus stop around 7:15. Once in the bus I stop by a diner to buy some coffee and walk to work. A way we use algorithms when we teach is through daily routines. In order for daily routines to run smoothly in a classroom, everything is scheduled at a certain time throughout the day. This way students are not lost , are well prepared, and know what to expect in the classroom.

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Jul 26
Priscilla A (Jul 26 2021 5:22PM) : What is algorithm more

An algorithm is everywhere and is a set of step-by-step instructions that must be followed in the correct order to produce a useful result.

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Jul 29
Laura D (Jul 29 2021 12:00PM) : I agree with your post. more

algorithm is part of a routine. As educators algorithms will be part of the classroom’s activities such as routines, and the lessons.

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Jul 27
Khurram A (Jul 27 2021 2:20PM) : Teaching students about algorithms, how we have always used them, and how we will continue to both inside and outside of the world of computer science will help students become more organize and that will lead towards them being independent learners.
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Aug 2
Aniya M (Aug 02 2021 11:02AM) : Computational Thinking more

Intially, computational thinking sounded a bit intimidating for me because I was not sure if I was going to be able to do so effectively paritally, because I was unaware of what it entailed. I had failed to realize that we all computational think as we engage in different activites. This motivates me to encourage my students to not limit themselves to what they might think before trying to acquire a new skill. While they may feel like they do not know how do it, it could be that they have already mastered it.

DMU Timestamp: July 22, 2021 14:08

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Jul 29
Elijah H (Jul 29 2021 7:38PM) : paragraph 30 more

Helping students understand how algorithms factor into all of the subjects they are learning, as well as their activities will help them expand their thinking and broaden their understanding. When a student makes a decision to retell a story in chronological order, or solve a math problem using specific steps they are showing their understanding of using different algorithms and why the order matters when executing.

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