Stephen Oldmeadow▸ U3: English Connections

My lesson idea to link Digital Technologies with English is to have students explain the rules to a simple game or a subset of the rules to a sport/complex game. Some examples:

* Explain how to play Noughts & Crosses;
* Explain how the offside rule works in Soccer;
* Explain the scoring in Australian Rules Football e.g. goal vs behind;
* Explain the moves for a chess piece such as a pawn or knight;
* Explain the effect of a Pokemon’s type in a Pokemon battle.

This lesson idea links to the creating informative texts component of the English curriculum and the computational thinking/algorithm design component of the Digital Technologies curriculum. One of the aims of the lesson would be to reveal the difficulty inherent in specifying complex rules in natural language. Students could reflect on the similarities between language structures for describing rules and programming constructs. For example, many games/sports are implemented like a conditional loop i.e. they continue until some condition is met such as an amount of time has expired, a number of points have been scored and so forth. Similarly many rules involve conditional statements such as: if it is the first time they are moving then a pawn may move 2 spaces otherwise they can move one space.

If students have a particular interest it may be worth looking at the official rules for their interest. For example, looking at the official rules for many sports can be very illuminating particularly where students are very familiar with the rules. The ties with the Digital Technologies curriculum could be further developed by developing an algorithmic version of the rules that they have explained – pseudo code or flow charts could be good choices.


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