Volume 6 Issue 5
 December 1999
 GAMES Algorithm Magic Circle 10 Council Computer programs are made up of many algorithms (pronounced al-gore-rhythm). An algorithm is a set of instructions that give you an answer or a finished product. Each performs a specific job. Many logic and math games are algorithms. Try the one below. No matter what number you start with, you always get 10 for an answer. 1.) Think of a number from 1 to 10. 2.) Add 6 to the number. 3.) Subtract 4 from the number. 4.) Subtract your original number. 5.) Add 3 to the number. 6.) Multiply the number by 2.   Write Your Own Program York Adams Council Explain to the boys that programming is a very exact (and sometimes tedious) job. A computer does exactly what it is programmed to do. This includes programs that run on desktop PCs as well as computer programs in different kinds of machinery (like robots, for example). If the program doesn't include every command, the machine must do, the task won't be done properly. For this activity, tell the boys that they are going to write a program to make a robot move an item from one place in the meeting room to another place in the same room. (Pick start and stop points they can see, but that have obstacles between them.) They are to write out the program commands for the robot, which you will have another Cub Scout then follow. After the boys are finished, shuffle all of the "programs" and give them out so that no one has his own. Then take turns reading each program out, having the "robots" follow the exact instructions from the "programs." Dissect A Computer York Adams Council Get someone from the den who knows about computers to come in with a couple "throw-away" computers (old 386s or 486s) and have the person work with the boys on identifying the different components of the computer. They may even be able to take a bunch of parts from different computers and build one working computer. Make sure the boys get to see some of the main components that they hear about all of the time, such as motherboard, RAM, hard drive, modem, sound card, etc. Floppy Disk Ring Toss York Adams Council Do you remember those floppy disks we uses to use? No, I don't mean the 8" diameter ones—only a few of us really old computer nerds remember them! I mean the 5-1/4 diskettes. They came in a thin, square "wrapper." Well if you can find some, remove the outer sleeve and you'll find a disk that the boys can use for a short-distance ring toss. You'll need to make "targets" but these can be dowels or pencils stuck into pre-drilled boards. Make sure you leave enough room between the dowels that the rings can go onto any of them. Mark each target with a point value and let the boys take turns trying to see how many points they can get. (By the way, if you can't find any of those diskettes, ask any of your computer friends as they'll surely have some around!) Another suitable computer ring is the CD; many people get lots of these as junk mail.

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