Problem Solving
Time 1.9 hrs

Difficulty Beginner
Prerequisites None
Departments Science
Authors Sandra Kuipers
Groupings Individual
Minimum Year Group None

### Blurb

Solving problems is one of the most fundamental skills in programming, along with persistence and creativity. This unit looks at how we can turn problem solving into a logical process.

### Outline

 Learner OutcomesStudents will: ... Competency Focus ... Interdisciplinary Connections ... ReflectionWhat was successful? What needs changing? Alternative Assessments and Lesson Ideas? What other Differentiation Ideas/Plans could be used? ... CreditsAny CC attribution, thanks, credit, etc. Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

5 mins
Decision Making
Getting Started
• Humans make decisions every minute. Big decisions, like what to believe, who to like, and what to do with our life; and small decisions like what to eat, when to sleep, and whether to pet our cat when it meows.
• Sometimes we act logical.
• Sometimes we act very illogical.
• The bigger the decision, the more complex it gets, with many different factors to consider.
• Most of the time, our decisions are simple, and follow a certain kind of logic.
• For example: How do you decide when to get up for school?
• This depends on a few factors:
• How long does it take you to get ready, and how long does it take you to get to school?
• If getting ready takes 40 minutes and getting to school takes 20 minutes, then you should likely be getting up at least 60 minutes before school. Logic! (and some math)
5 mins
Thinking like a Computer
It's all logic
• Computers make decisions every nanosecond (a billionth of a second!). They act very logical, even if we don't always understand what they're doing.
• Before we can start to program computers, we have to start to think like a computer.
• Computers think in logic, and computer logic involves a lot of yes/no scenarios (also known as boolean: true/false or 1/0).
• Flowcharts are a great way to start training our brains to think logically.
5 mins
Flowcharts
How do they work?

We use flowcharts to diagram a step-by-step approach to solving a task or making a decision.

• A basic flowchart includes a few things:
• A Starting Point - Usually rounded.
• Decisions - Where we decide things. A Yes/No question in a diamond shape.
• Processes - Where something happens. Usually square.
• One or more End Points - This is the end result of our flow chart. Often rounded
• Check out the wiki page for more parts of a flowchart.
5 mins
Following the Flow
• We read flow charts by starting at the Start, then following the arrows. At each decision, make a choice and follow the arrow. Continue until you reach and End point.
• Flow charts can be as simple or complex as needed. Sometimes the arrows loop back to the start, sometimes they stop in a dead-end.

5 mins
Problem Solving
XKCD

Flowcharts are a powerful problem-solving tool. The following comic, although intended to be funny, provides a very good reminder that we can solve our own problems if we think hard, try different things, and search online:

10 mins
More Flowcharts
They don't have to be boring
80 mins