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.

Dates

Running every Wednesday in the spring term:

  Slot Date School Detailed Schedule  
  Taster Day 1 31 January 2023 West Kirby Grammar School Schedule  
  Taster Day 2 07 February 2023 St Francis of Assisi Schedule  
  – half term – 14 February 2023    
  Taster Day 3 21 February 2023 West Derby Schedule  
  Taster Day 4 28 February 2023 Dixons Fazakerley Schedule  
  Taster Day 5 06 March 2023 Academy of St Nicholas Schedule  
  Taster Day 6 13 March 2023 Dixons Croxteth Schedule  
  Taster Day 7 20 March 2023 Calderstones Schedule  

Organisation

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 2024 Taster Day Info Sheet.

Lessons

Below is a list of this year’s student developed lessons (for very similar topics developed by multiple students, only one topic/blurb is given below). Each Taster Days features two of these.

Wavefunction collapse (Ben C-W)

Wavefunction collapse is an algorithm based on concepts from quantum computing. Using just one input image, it outputs an image of selected size without aid of machine learning techniques. The goal of this lesson is to teach the students of both the algorithm’s existence and Shannon entropy, the metric the algorithm uses to pick which pixel to ‘collapse’ next. This will occur intuitively via a board game and a connecting slideshow.

Introduction to AI (Tommy, Jade)

Artificial Intelligence is a field of computer science that reshapes how we think about computers. Understanding AI is paramount in today’s rapidly evolving society. Starting with Alan Turing creating the ‘Imitation Game’ in 1950, the field of AI has mostly grown exponentially, evolving how we think of computers from a tool to a machine that can think, make its own decisions and, much like Turing envisioned, imitate a human. This lesson aims to provide a foundational knowledge of how AI has developed since Turing’s vision of a future in 1950.

Logic circuits (Nikita, Ben K)

Logic underpins the entirely of computer science, from writing large pieces of code to the very bits that make up a computer. To be able to study and work in computer science you need to have a good understanding of basic logic such as AND, OR and NOT. People also need to be able to use the 3 (and others) in conjunction with each other to on programs for example. This lesson will help students understand how useful logic gates are and become more comfortable with complex knowledge of gates and circuits as well as their real-life applications in computer science.

Classified mission: Encryption 101 (Zack)

Encryption has been used throughout history to ensure privacy of sensitive information, all the way from ancient Egypt to our text messages every day. In this introductory lesson, students will learn what encryption is, how it works, its applications, and why it’s important. Following a spy theme, students will get the chance to encrypt and decrypt text using Caesar and Vigenère cipher in a competitive group activity.

Code breaking (Navi)

Cryptography is the practice of encoding information in order to secure it and prevent it being read by unauthorised parties. In history, secret messages were communicated using ciphers to minimise the risk of them being intercepted by the enemy. Today, encryption is a crucial part of online security, especially since most communication happens on the internet. In this engaging and hands-on lesson, students will be introduced to two basic ciphers and create their own cipher wheel. They will have the opportunity to use this tool to encrypt and decrypt secret messages, enhancing their problem-solving skills and allowing them to experience the thrill of code breaking.

Cybersecurity (Emily)

Cyber Security is a rising industry within computer science today and many companies are looking to hire more people within the field as they are looking to protect their companies and the data they hold in the most secure way possible. Within this lesson students will have an insight into what cyber security and cryptography is and they will get to see and complete some basic and more complex ciphers in teams.


Registration

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 reach out to cs-outreach@liverpool.ac.uk!

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