unplugged activity - Thomas’ Tangles

An unplugged computing game developed by myself and my son - Thomas's Tangle was one the unplugged activities within a workshop at the Roehampton Festival of Computing today.




Unplugged Activity 3: Thomas’ Tangles
Exploring abstract patterns using randomness within an algorithm.

Using crayons, pencils or pens, we are going to follow an algorithm to create a random drawing. This could be done in pairs and you will need squared paper.
Person A: Rolls the dice and reads out the instructions.
Person B: Is the ‘robot carrying out the instructions.

IMG_0226.JPG


When the starting or central square is blocked and a new central square is needed the roles of A and B swap (so A is the ‘robot’ and B rolls the dice and reads out the instruction). The roles keep swapping.


Algorithm

Start from a random square – call it the centre square
Repeat until end of game
If die roll = 1
Roll die for number of moves
Check for blocks
If not blocked then
move die roll number of steps up the page
If die roll = 2
Roll die for number of moves
Check for blocks
If not blocked then
move die roll number of steps down the page
If die roll = 3
Roll die for number of moves
Check for blocks
If not blocked then
move die roll number of steps to the left
If die roll = 4
Roll die for number of moves
Check for blocks
If not blocked then
move die roll number of steps to the right
If die roll = 5
Roll die
If die = 1 change colour to Red
If die = 2 change colour to Blue
If die = 3 change colour to Black
If die = 4 change colour to Red
If die = 5 change colour to Orange
If die = 6 change colour to Yellow
If die roll = 6
Return to current centre square


Check for blocks:
If pathway blocked do not move then
reroll die
If number of spaces in the direction > die roll then
move until blocked
If all pathways blocked then
choose a new centre square






More details of the activity can be found in the forthcoming book.




If you'd like to find out more about Computing at the University of Northampton go to: www.computing.northampton.ac.uk. All views and opinions are the author's and do not necessarily reflected those of any organisation they are associated with