Micro Challenge #2 – Sequencing a (secret) message

8 April 2020 - 3 minute read

Welcome to the second of Altitude Foundation’s #MicroChallenges2020 

In our second challenge, you will build on your sequencing skills to create messages and pass on information!

What’s a Micro Challenge?

These challenges are short activities to help you develop, revise or refresh your coding skills, posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

Micro Challenge #2

For this challenge, you might want to use the BBC micro:bit code editor, MakeCode, which has a micro computer emulator with simulated LED display, so you can see what you’re making. If you are not familiar with the BBC micro:bit, a microcomputer,  here’s an overview of its features. You can find the MakeCode editor here.

If you want to create an offline version, you can show the same skill using a paper fortune teller (albeit in a slightly simplified form!)

Sequencing 2: The Sequence Strikes Back

Can you create a message that only the right sequence can unlock? In order to do this, you will need to create (or programme) a series of inputs (actions or choices) which generate specific outputs (the message). 

— For example, could you spell out your name, display a sentence, or create a sequence of figures moving? 

— In MakeCode, your input might be pressing A, B or using the Shake function. 

— In the fortune teller example, you might use colours or numbers.

Bonus: Could you write up the algorithm for this in pseudocode

Review it

Once you’ve completed the challenge, review it:

Does the programme only work when your inputs are in the right order? What happens if you choose a different sequence of inputs?

— When else might this kind of programming be useful?

— In the fortune teller example, you can add complexity by using a combination of inputs, for example a colour on the outside and then a number on the inside flap. How does this make getting the sequence right more complicated?

Share it

We would love to see what you have created! Please send any pictures, videos, or files of your activities to us – either via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram  using #MicroChallenges2020 or to challenges@altitudefoundation.org. If you are emailing them to us, please let us know if you are happy for us to share your stuff on our social media platforms (with credit, of course).

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