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Age range: 11-14 | 14-16
Duration: 60 or more mins
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  • D&T
  • Engineering

Applications of programmable systems

Research a programmable system from the past

Modern society depends on programmable systems, from industrial robots to smartphones.

The systems of today are only possible because of past inventions. In this activity, students use a timeline to learn about the development of programmable systems.

Activity info, teachers' notes and curriculum links

An engaging activity in which students work in teams to research details about one programmable system from the past. They then present their findings and work as a class to build up a timeline. Students can then work independently using this timeline, plus other key inventions, to describe and explain patterns in the development of programmable systems.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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All activity sheets and supporting resources (including film clips!) are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students' and your schools' needs.

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