Computational Thinking Module

VCTAL (The Value of Computational Thinking across Grade Levels 9-12) is an NFS-funded group involved in developing a set of instructional modules, mini-modules, and (ultimately) a book for use in high school classrooms. The modules will cultivate a facility with computational thinking in students across different grade levels and subject areas. Mr. James Kuppetz, Dr. Steve Leonhardi, and I developed the following computational thinking module based on game theory.

Competition or Collusion? Game Theory in Sports, Business, and Life

Rock, paper, or scissors? Fastball or curveball? Bluff or fold? Work together or backstab the competition? Image courtesy of COMAP Game theory offers a computational approach to decision-making in competitive situations between “players” who are each choosing from a variety of possible strategies. While recreational games and sports are natural examples, game theory is also effective in modeling business decisions, political campaigns, biological evolution, and decisions in many other real-life contexts. This module introduces students to game theory concepts and methods, starting with zero-sum games and then moving on to non-zero-sum games. Students learn techniques for classifying games, for computing optimal solutions where known, and for analyzing various strategies for games in which no optimal solution exists. Finally, students have the opportunity to transfer what they’ve learned to new game-theoretic situations. This module is appropriate for high schools classes in mathematics, computer science, and economics.

Student Materials