Algorithms are the final stage of computational thinking. Algorithms are a way to develop a step-by-step solution to the problem, or the rules to follow to solve the problem. Watch this short video to learn about algorithms. 

In this Quest, you will work to understand what an algorithm is by completing a card sorting activity from You will have learned all the steps to tackle and complete your complex problem. In Quest Six, you will evaluate your steps. 

I Can Statement

  • create an algorithm for a complex problem


Algorithm: An algorithm is a detailed step-by-step instruction set or formula for solving a problem or completing a task.

Complex problem: Complex problems are questions or issues that cannot be answered through simple logical procedures. 


1. For this activity, you will need a partner and a stack of cards.  

2. You will be given 10 cards, face down in a stack between you and your partner.

10 playing cards face down

3. Do not touch the cards until instructed to do so.

4. No Talking during the challenge

5. The goal is to get the cards in a line, face up, in number order as fast as you can.

6. After completing that card sorting activity, you and your partner should complete this activity from to learn more about creating an algorithm for sorting cards. 

  • One of you needs to make a copy of the activity and share with your partner and the teacher. 
  • Complete the steps and reflection in the card sorting activity. 

7. Now that you understand what an algorithm is, you will need to revisit your complex problem and write the steps that are needed to complete/solve it. 

8. Go to your Computational Thinking Document, fill in the steps and let your teacher know when you have completed them. 

Additional Resources

Completing this Quest

To complete this Quest turn in your algorithm activity from to your teacher (via Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.).

Then complete the steps for your complex problem and share with your teacher when it is completed. 

 Check this Quest off your 21t4s roadmap

 I have completed this Quest and am ready to move on Quest 6

Competencies & Standards

MITECS   Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students, and

ISTE Standards for Students

5. Computational Thinker
a. formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.
b. collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making.
c. break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
d. understand how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions.