Micro Challenge #12 – Teaching a computer to ‘think’

1 May 2020 - 2 minute read

Welcome to the Twelfth of Altitude Foundation’s #MicroChallenges2020 

Try your own hand at teaching machines in today’s challenge!

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 #12

This week, our focus is on concepts in programming. 

Machine learning

Have a look at Micro Challenge #11. Here we explored how computers “think” and designed an algorithm using computational thinking (decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, algorithm design). We can use the algorithm we designed as a way of exploring machine learning, albeit in a very simple way. 

If you want to learn more about machine learning and its uses, the Royal Society has a good explanation here.

The challenge

Your challenge today is to t. There are two ways of doing that:

Using Machine Learning for Kids to teach a computer how to recognise or draw the images you worked on yesterday (use the ‘Try It Now’ function to design a free game).

Have a play around with Quick, Draw, teaching a neural network how to recognise doodles. How does the network learn to recognise different doodles?

Review it:

Could you explain how the machine is being ‘taught’ in either and/or both programmes?


What are the uses of machine learning? Can you think of any apps or networks that you use which rely on machine learning?

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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