Unplugged activity: Arrays in real life

Questions to ask students

  • Ask your students if any of them like to collect something. What is it? It could be comic books, game/sports cards, coins, action figures, books, and so on.
  • How big is the collection?
  • How is it organized?
  • Are the items sorted in any way?
  • How would you go about finding a particular item in the collection?

Array “terms”

In the discussion, see if you can explore the following array vocabulary words in the context of your students’ personal collections:

  • Array Length: the total number of items in the collection
  • Sort: how you could order items in the collection (for example, date, price, name, color, and so on)
  • Index: a unique address or location in the collection (for example, page number in an album, shelf on a bookcase, and so on)
  • Type: the type of item being stored in the collection (for example, DC Comics, $1 coins, Pokemon cards, and so on)

Having some pictures of collections might help to get the conversation going. You might even do this in a few sessions and allow students to bring in pictures of their collections for the second time you meet.