This activity will help pupils to understand why events are useful and how to use them.

  • KS1
  • This activity will help pupils to understand why events are useful and how to use them.
  • You will need: 30 minutes, scissors, paper and pens or access to a printer

You will work with the familiar content of nursery rhymes, breaking them down into individual lines, and then challenging the pupils to put them back together again using minimal instructions.

Curriculum context

This Computer Science Unplugged activity embeds the concept of events, a fundamental building-block of programming.

Referring to the Computing Program of Study, events are one of the ‘fundamental principles and concepts of computer science’.

When we can't predict when something will happen but we want to respond to it, we use events.

How are events used in computers? Let's take the example of a computer game. When we press a key and the hero moves, that's an event. When we zap the baddy, and it disappears, that's an event.


Ask for examples of when computers have to wait for something to happen. MP3 players, phones and cars contain computers that are waiting for us to do something. But they are also doing something 'in the background'. For example an MP3 player is playing the music without us having to keep telling it to.


  • Pen and paper, or access to a printer
  • Scissors
  • About 8 per group is a good number.
  • Use a well known song or rhyme and split it up into sections - 1 less than number of children in each group.
  • Children write down each section on a piece of paper and memorise it.

Printable nursery rhymes


Estimated time for activity: 30 minutes

Baa baa black sheep

  • The children get in a random order around a central conductor - who triggers the phrase by touching shoulders.
  • The conductor has to work out which order to touch shoulders to make the song come out right.


  • Children come up with their own sound/movement to make when someone touches their shoulder.
  • Ask conductor to touch multiple shoulders at once, this is fun and a nice illustration of parallelism.