Our Computer Science Taster Days are a full-day campus visit to our labs.
Modern life is full of technology; most of us use digital tools every single day for chatting, shopping, banking, education, and recreation. A career in computer science allows students to step up from mere users to empowered creators and scrutinisers of technology. Our Taster Days give an authentic impression of how that looks like through a series of hands-on workshops covering different aspects of computer science.
The Taster Days are aimed at pupils in Key Stage 3. Our aim is to encourage pupils from all backgrounds to engage with computing and to consider further study at GCSE and university.
Running every Wednesday in the spring term:
|Taster Day 1||01 February 2023|
|Taster Day 2||08 February 2023||St. Anselm’s College||Schedule 2023-02-08|
|Taster Day 3||15 February 2023||The Oldershaw School||Schedule 2023-02-15|
|– half term –||22 February 2023||—|
|Taster Day 4||01 March 2023||Hilbre High School||Schedule 2023-03-01|
|Taster Day 5||08 March 2023||The Academy of St Francis of Assisi||Schedule 2023-03-08|
|Taster Day 6||15 March 2023|
|Taster Day 7||22 March 2023||The Mosslands School||Schedule 2023-03-22|
|– Easter break–||29 March 2023||—|
|Taster Day 8||03 May 2023||Academy of St Nicholas||Schedule 2023-05-03|
Each Taster Day will include two sessions developed and delivered by our students, as well as a hands-on session and an outdoor activity delivered by academics from the Computer Science Outreach team. The exact schedule for the day will depend on the timetable of our students.
We recognise that many pupils will already be somewhat familiar with programming. Our undergraduate students have been working hard to design a range of activities to support and enhance the work you do in the classroom.
Each day typically begins at 10am and ends at 2pm. Schools are responsible for arranging their own transport to the university campus. The Computer Science labs are conveniently located just a short walk from University Square via The Quadrangle.
For further information, please see our 2023 Taster Day Info Sheet.
Below is a list of this year’s student developed lessons. Each Taster Days features two of these.
An Introduction to Cyber Security (Saeed)
As reliance on technology is growing, so are risks and dangers of being online. Threats range from individuals or institutions being hacked, to sophisticated malware being installed on devices. We are thus increasingly dependent on the cyber security industry for out defense. This lesson exposes students to puzzles as they arise in the cyber security industry and introduces them to the skills and opportunities of this field.
Lego algorithms (Hafsa)
Can you escape the bricks in this unplugged computer science activity? The lesson conveys fundamentals of algorithms by traversing through a Lego maze and teaches the difference between a list of instructions and a general algorithm.
Data to Delivery: Technologies of E-Commerce (James)
Ever wondered what happens behind the colorful buttons of a webshop? In this lesson, students will build a simple, fully functional, and publicly accessible E-commerce site using industry standard services. In passing, they will learn about databases and their importance for E-Commerce applications.
Intro to Artificial Intelligence and Data Science (Abe)
The lesson gives some concrete examples of how artificial intelligence can look like and its diverse applications in the world.
Boolean Logic - Unplugged (Toby)
In this unplugged computer science activity, we get the students up on their feet, moving around the classroom holding Jumbo Playing Cards to organise themselves, conforming with Boolean logic statements. Boolean logic is a form of algebra which simply decides if something is True or False. It’s a core concept that is used in most programs and information databases. These values of “true” and “false” are used to test the conditions that selection and iteration are based around, and which form the basis of all Boolean circuits from which processors are built.
Social Engineering – The oldest trick in the book (Jess)
Social engineering is a vital part of hacking that is often overlooked although being one of the most important factors of cyber security. We can have the strongest security on the software end, but that will all break down if someone writes down their password or clicks on a malicious link. In this lesson pupils will look at different ways social engineering attacks can be performed and step into the shoes of the attacker.
Phishing in Cybersecurity (Luke)
Pupils will learn about phishing through a role-play activity in which they are put into the shoes of a Social Engineer themselves. The philosophy behind this approach is derived from the Art of Way by Sun Tzu, where he says “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” By thinking of what needs to go into malicious emails from the perspective of the fraudster, pupils will learn what to look out for in their own emails. A key part of this section will be to study some real-world examples and break down what makes them suspicious.
How Computers Work (Cammy)
The lesson introduces the structure of Von Neumann processor architecture with the aim to introduce students to how computers are structured and how they work at a fundamental level. To aid in that, the main activity of the lesson will be puzzles designed to be solved using a Little Man Computer online simulator.
Python Snake (Joao)
In this lesson, students generate their own self-contained, playable “Retro Snake” game in Python. No prior programming knowledge required!
Weigh your choices! (Alex)
In this unplugged lesson, pupils will explore algorithms for sorting and searching using sets of weights and a weighing scale. It teaches both algorithm complexity and the comparison model of computation.
Interested in attending?
We are currently booked out, but we keep a rolling list of interested schools.
If you are a secondary school teacher, and would like to bring a group of pupils to our campus for a Computer Science Taster Day, please fill out our expression-of-interest survey.