Unit plan: Sequential and binary search

What's it all about?

A farmer can easily find a needle in a small haystack, but can't find it in a large haystack.

Searching for a keyword, a value, or a specific piece of data (information) is the basis of many computing applications, whether it’s looking up a bank account balance, using an internet search engine, or searching for a file on your laptop. Computers deal with a lot of information so we need efficient algorithms for searching. This unit explores some common algorithms that are used to search for data on computers, with the opportunity to integrate this learning with statistics.

Because computers are often required to find information in collections of data that can be very, very large, using the right algorithm for searching is crucial! A key idea in computer science that we'll be illustrating with searching algorithms is just how fast an algorithm can be; students might think that if you're searching twice as much data then it should take twice as long, but we'll look at a way …

Read the full unit plan description


Ages 5 to 7 Programming challenges
In the teacher observations sections there may also be background notes on the big picture. There is no expectation that 5 to 7 year olds will need to know this, but if you are asked, you have the answer at your fingertips.
1 How many guesses? No
2 Divide and conquer No
Ages 8 to 10 Programming challenges
1 How many guesses? No
2 Divide and conquer No
3 The Great Number Hunt (Unsorted) No
4 The Great Number Hunt (Sorted) No