In March a team of five Year 10 computer scientists took part in the first Wirral Secondary Schools Harvard CS50x Puzzle Competition, held locally at Mosslands. They joined six other teams to tackle eight fiendishly difficult puzzles set by Facebook.
Of the seven teams, Ridgeway’s team was perhaps the youngest, as they were competing against two other Key Stage 4 teams (Years 10 and 11) and teams from Year 12 and Year 13. Despite this, they led the way early on by allocating members of the team to tackle different puzzles, collating ideas and using key skills in computational thinking, abstraction and decomposition to work out possible solutions ahead of their opponents.
By the end of the day Ridgeway had submitted – and had confirmed as correct – four out of eight puzzle solutions, which is a fantastic feat for so young a team, as the puzzles are aimed at university entry-level degree students.
This year 1300 teams from around the world participated, including 92 teams from the UK. Our students had a fantastic time and were really able to showcase skills learnt during GCSE computer science lessons.
The team would like to challenge readers by asking them to solve one of the ‘easier’ puzzles [see below]. All you are told is that the answer is two words.
Details of the results of the 2018 competition and previous puzzles can be found on Facebook by searching for ‘CS50x’.