Sorting numbers into order


Why is being able to put numbers in the right order important, and how can we do it? If you’ve ever looked a word up in a dictionary, you’ll be thankful for sorting - imagine trying to find a word in a dictionary if the words were jumbled up rather than in alphabetical order!

In this video, Andy French looks at how to sort numbers into the right order, using shuffled playing cards as an example. These kinds of algorithms are used in computer systems all over the world every day!

Talking points:
  • Can you think of any other situations where it would be helpful to have sorted items (either numbers or words)? We can think of a few: your class register; or what about seat numbers in a cinema or theatre?
  • Do you sort numbers in the same way as mentioned in the video? Try laying some numbered cards out and see how you would do it naturally. Can you describe the steps you took?
  • If you were delivering a letter and arrived at a road where the house numbers were not in order, how would you find the house you wanted? Maybe sorting is quite useful after all!
  • Worksheet: Bubble sorting in class [Link]

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