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Digital flashcards

Unit of work

5 lessons


7-11 yrs

This series of five lessons is aimed at students aged 7-8 years and builds on the ‘Nature art’ unit. Students design sequenced algorithms for flashcards to help them learn a foreign language, developing their understanding of computational thinking. They then write programs to create digital flashcards using the micro:bit and test and evaluate their work.

Computational thinking:



Pattern recognition





Overall key learning

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology

Additional skills

Creative thinking, collaboration, problem-solving.

Lesson 1: Flashcard algorithms

In this ‘unplugged’ lesson pupils use flashcards to practice words learnt in another language. They consider the ‘responder’ and ‘shower’ roles of the people using the flashcards and write, test and debug algorithms for others to follow.

Key learning:

  • To know and understand what algorithms are
  • To write algorithms with clear instructions
  • To test and debug algorithms
Lesson 1 details

Lesson 2: Abstraction & programming

Pupils recap their learning from the Nature art unit before being introduced to using the BBC micro:bit as a digital flashcard. They choose language vocabulary then write sequenced programs using the MakeCode editor to displays LED images of the words.

Key learning:

  • To use abstraction when planning LED images
  • To write programs that create LED images
  • To sequence programs
Lesson 2 details

Lesson 3: Patterns & delays

Pupils develop their understanding of the ‘wait’ command, using it in algorithms and micro:bit MakeCode programs and identifying patterns. 

Key learning:

  • To identify solutions to problems
  • To identify patterns
  • To use delays in algorithms and programs
Lesson 3 details

Lesson 4: Predicting & experimenting

Pupils develop their logical reasoning skills before experimenting with the MakeCode editor to find additional ways of controlling the BBC micro:bit’s LEDs. They then plan an algorithm for a digital number flashcard.

Key learning:

  • To use logical reasoning to identify the output of a program
  • To tinker (experiment) to develop understanding
  • To create an algorithm that meets given criteria
Lesson 4 details

Lesson 5: Debugging & evaluating

Pupils program the BBC micro:bit as a digital number flashcard and evaluate their programs against the design criteria before reviewing their learning from this unit.

Key learning:

  • To follow an algorithm accurately to create a digital number flashcard
  • To write and debug programs that meets design criteria
  • To evaluate against design criteria
Lesson 5 details

These lessons are mapped to the following learning objectives and standards for computing and foreign languages: