What is an algorithm?

You use code to tell a computer what to do. Before you write code you need an algorithm.

An algorithm is a list of rules to follow in order to solve a problem.

Algorithms need to have their steps in the right order. Think about an algorithm for getting dressed in the morning. What if you put on your coat before your jumper? Your jumper would be on top of your coat and that would be silly! When you write an algorithm the order of the instructions is very important.

Watch this video and find out what algorithms are.

How do we use algorithms in our everyday lives?

I need to make a cake

The algorithm here is a cake recipe. You can find the algorithm to solve this problem in a cookbook!

Illustration of a cake for Learning, Schools, KS1 computing

I can't find the park

The algorithm you need is a set of directions to get to the park. There might be different ways to the park so you can have different algorithms.

Illustration of a map for Learning, Schools, KS1 computing

I need to build a toy

The algorithm to follow here is the list of instructions that tell you how to make the toy.

Castle illustration for Schools, Learning, KS1 computing
A cartoon character pulling out a piece of paper from a robotic machine