Sue▸ Years 7 – 8 Digital Technologies MOOC

My portfolio task 2 seems to have disappeared. Reposting.

———– start lesson: decomposition ———–
Define and decompose real-world problems taking into account functional requirements and economic, environmental, social, technical and usability constraints (ACTDIP027)

Student Brainstarter (5-10 mins):
“What does decomposition mean? Have you heard of the term in another subject, if so in what context? Why do you think it might be useful in app development?”
Intent: to have students consider a possibly familiar word in a different context, and to think about how it applies in this new setting. Short discussion that could potentially relate decomposing compost > “breaking down” -> word meaning -> what one might want to break down -> formal definition in app development context (vocabularly).

Intro new software ( (5 mins)
Demonstrate and have students sign up to ready to work along with teacher in an example. ( allows for collaboration – thus improved creativity)

Example of Decomposition (15 – 20 min):
Choose a topic that is suitable for your particular class. Here is an example of a brainstorm using “Make a birthday cake” as an idea. I would start with non-IT ideas first, as they would likely be more familiar to more students. They also recognise “Mix the flour, eggs and milk” is not an appropriate way to start, knowing what cake you are going to make would need to come first. Once you start getting concepts like “Any relevant allergies” all students generally start to see the need for this preparation – no point making a chocolate mud cake, dripping with rich chocolate icing, for someone allergic to chocolate, eggs, and dairy.

Then move on to breaking the problem down. Let’s assume a chocolate cake with pink icing, decorated with Sally’s Barbie plates/cups/etc is appropriate for 6-year-old Sally. What needs to be done? It is simple enough that the class will come up with most of this themselves, and yet it gives them the idea that some things have to be done in a certain order (I can’t decorate a cake that hasn’t been made), and that there can be more than one level of breaking down a big problem into smaller chunks.

Small group activity (20 mins):
In groups of about 3, have students choose from a list of 5 or 6 ideas – or come up with one you approve of. They should come up with planning and decomposition something like the above. The type of “problems” and the difficulty level depends on the students you have in front of you at the time. Some suggestions:
• Getting ready for school (Scope is a big point here – are you including “Get dressed” or breaking it down, are you including “set alarm before going to bed” or starting from once the person wakes up)
• Getting ready for this class (good for reinforcing required equipment, or entering classroom type “rules”)
• Football grand finals (perhaps as a player – are they training, where are they playing, what happens after the game)
• Watching the State of Origin game (who’s coming over to watch with you, are you going out to the game)
• Attending the school dance
• The weekend
Plenty of scope, but some really familiar options is good for those less capable students, whilst plenty of freedom will challenge high-flyers to consider constraints!

Closing activity – thinking ahead:
How far is too far? Take getting dressed. Are you going to simply state “get dressed” or list the items to be put on in order, or go as far as “stretch left arm out in front of you, lower arm until hand is touching shirt, grab shirt, …”. Short discussion.

Find definitions of “functional decomposition” and “program specification”.
Possibly: Using a Venn diagram, compare and contrast these 2 terms (depending on class, set parameters like at least 4 terms/phrases to be included, there must be at least 1 entry in each of the 3 areas). This might be an extension task.

———- end lesson: decomposition ————–

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