Daily activity 49: Ada Lovelace

May 28, 2020

This week’s theme:

Mysterious People: Inspirational Women

Fact of the day:

Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer. She lived in the UK from 1815 – 1852.

Resources list:

Sequences download; Youtube; bag and 20 objects such as coins/buttons/balls; tangram template, felt tips or colouring pencils/crayons; 2 pens.

Activity 1:

Ada Lovelace is the world’s first computer programmer. She was the first person to write a program (a series of commands) that Charles Babbage’s mechanical computer could use to do complicated calculations. Ada believed machines could do more than just maths and correctly predicted many of their future uses, such as creating graphics and music – she predicted the computer!

Writing programmes and coding is about creating sequences to be followed to give an end result. We do this all the time without realising – brushing our teeth, putting our clothes on, making a cup of tea. We have to follow the right instructions in the right order – we can’t put water in the mug if the mug’s still in the cupboard! Have a go at completing these sequences. Can you come up with any action, dance or music sequences of your own?

Activity 2:

Ada’s scientific notes included her understanding of an ‘algorithm’ (step-by-step instructions or rules) for using the Analytical Engine (the machine she and Charles Babbage were interested in). Can you follow step-by step instructions to copy this dance routine? Try it out in time to this song!

Activity 3:

Ada was a brilliant mathmatician. She worked on the ‘Difference Engine’, a machine could automatically add and subtract numbers, which had never been done before.

Do a 20 question sounds quiz. For every question you get right put a ball/coin/button in a bag (add it to the bag), for every question you get wrong take a ball out of the bag (subtract it from the bag). How many balls are in the bag at the end of the quiz?

Activity 4:

As a child, Ada’s Dad nicknamed her his “Princess of Parallelograms”. A parallelogram is a flat shape with opposite sides parallel and equal in length. Have a go at spotting this shape, and making your own colourful parallelogram with the tangram pieces here.

Activity 5:

Ada Lovelace was a musician as well as a scientist, and worked on musical compositions based on numbers.

Can you tap out rhythms in numbers? With a pen in each hand, can you beat out taps of the pen on a tabletop and create a song that uses beats of 3, 2 and 4? For example, left 3 right 3, left 3 right 3, left 2, right 2, left 2, right 2, and repeat. Come up with your own combination of number beats.