An algorithm is a set of rules, steps or instructions to accomplish a task. Have a look at the videos below for more information. Start introducing the term algorithm early e.g. "We're going to write a set of instructions or algorithm..." or "Can you work out what the rule or algorithm might be for this pattern?".
Computers use algorithms but you don't necessarily need a computer to write or carry out an algorithm.
Many digital technologies can make performing an algorithm faster and easier. Algorithms are used to write computer programs, they tell the computer what to do.
Library Book Sorting Algorithms
Knitting Patterns - an Algorithm
Key Word Search
Google Search algorithms
Google Arts & Culture App - Degrees of Separation and Selfie are examples of algorithms in action.
NZ Maths - Position & orientation activities - opportunities for using algorithms.
When students start writing algorithms and programs they will often use pseudo code where instructions are written for a human to understand. These can be useful when designing programs to work out the required steps before conversion into a programming language.
Examples of pseudo code:
Algorithms infographic - based on the Australian curriculum but still useful.
Pixar in A Box - a collaboration between Pixar and the Khan Academy - teaches maths, science (including use of algorithms) and coding for Film Animation. Activities for all ages but most around age 8 to adult.
BBC - Algorithms activities for juniors
CS Field Guide - Algorithms
BarefootCAS has tutorials based on the English CS curriculum. Register to view the sample resources such as this one on Algorithms.
How to Explain Algorithms to Kids
BBC Bitesize: What is an Algorithm?