The Bebras challenge is free and is suitable all students in Years 3-12, although the organisers say is particularly suited to those from science, technology, computing, industrial design and mathematics classes. But what is this ‘computational thinking’ beast? Basically as I understand it, computational thinking is about an approach to problem solving: It uses logic, sequencing, algorithms and so on to solve problems in a scaleable fashion. It’s the same thinking that lies at the root of coding a program.
The Bebras organisers describe the challenge this way: “Bebras is a challenge to promote Computational Thinking among primary and secondary students. The purpose is to expose students to computer science and logic concepts without the need for prior digital technology/coding knowledge. To solve the tasks, students are required to think in and about logic, digital technologies, discrete structures, computation, data processing, and algorithmic concepts. Students can work in teams and find solving the problems very rewarding.”
What does Bebras look like?
- Bebras is free for schools and is delivered online and in class within one school hour (45-60 min)
- Teachers choose when their students participate in the challenge (between 16-27 March)
- Students from Year 3-12, participate in five categories: Years 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12
- Teachers are supported with webinars prior to the challenge period as well as teaching notes explaining the concepts behind each of the questions
- No prior computing/ICT knowledge is required
- Bebras is a feeder challenge for other activities such as coding, robotics or engineering clubs
- Sample tasks are available: www.bebras.edu.au
Bebras began in Lithuania in 2004 and has since spread around the world. In Australia, Bebras is coordinated by Digital Careers, a not-for-profit organisation sponsored by the Commonwealth Department of Communications to encourage young students to take an interest in technology subjects and careers.
Go to www.bebras.edu.au to see all the logical details and register.