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The computer science activity book
Liu C., Johnson T., No Starch Press, San Francisco, CA, 2019. 32 pp.  Type: Book (978-1-593279-10-3)
Date Reviewed: Dec 1 2020

The book has 24 projects that can be done with pen and paper, without a computer. The term “unplugged computer science” refers to computer science (CS) activities that can be done without a computer. These kinds of activities have been popular for teaching CS to underrepresented groups who do not have constant access to computers. This book includes unplugged CS activities that are suitable for both young people and adults. However, the beginning exercises are too easy for adults and the exercises toward the end may be hard for kids. The book would be more useful if the difficulty level of the activities was more balanced.

The book starts with an activity in which users can add values to given variables. Then it continues with a puzzle, where users match definitions to data types. The third, fifth, sixth, and seventh examples are coloring activities. The eighth activity is a fill-in-the-blank activity. In the ninth activity, users look for hidden bugs in a picture. Other activities introduce Babbage, Lovelace, and Turing. The book then continues with conditions, punch cards, binary numbers, computer hardware parts, the cloud, linear search, binary search, and for-loops. An easy example of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) coding follows. The final activity introduces neural networks with a pizza example.

Overall, both young and old can use this fun book to learn basic computer programming concepts. Everyone would benefit more if the level of the book was more clear--some exercises are difficult for kids, whereas some activities are too easy for adults. There should be different editions for adults and kids.

More reviews about this item: Amazon

Reviewer:  Gulustan Dogan Review #: CR147126 (2103-0057)
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