Teaching Computing at KS3

Introduction to control systems

There are a number of similar tools available to help KS2-KS3 students develop the skills of writing sequences and presenting systems in an appropriate flowchart-based format. Flowol is the most famous example, but there is a free and fully functional alternative called FlowGrid.

FlowGrid can be downloaded at www.robsons.org.uk/control.htm.

Preparation for delivery

FlowGrid comes as an executable program file (no installation is required). You may need to check with your network administration team to ensure that students are able to run this program or to ensure that a suitable alternative method of using the tool is put in place.

Some tips for using FlowGrid:

Suggested delivery

Length of unit: 3 lessons:

The challenge in each case is to create a flowchart that will make the lights and other outputs in the mimic work in the correct sequence:

Students should be shown how to open FlowGrid and find the appropriate mimic, and then supported (by you and each other) as they create and test their flowcharts.

It is recommended that students print out and annotate a copy of each completed flowchart to reinforce their understanding of the systems and the vocabulary involved. Suggested solutions to these mimics are provided below, as image files and PDFs to print out.

Note that this is the same as the traffic light mimic, with the instructions for a second set of lights interwoven with the first. Several different orders are possible – which is the best solution might be a good topic for discussion.

Note that the solution to the traffic light mimic will work for the road junction mimic as well, but will only control one set of lights.

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