Finite State Automata
Treasure Hunt #
Finite state automata (FSAs) sound complicated, but the basic idea is as simple as drawing a map.
This fun activity is based around a fictitious pirate story which leads to the unlikely topic of reasoning about patterns in sequences of characters
Activity description (PDF) #
Translations and other versions #
- Arabic language version
- Chinese language version
- Italian language version
- French language version
- Greek language version
- Portuguese (Brazil) language version
- Polish language version
- Slovenian Language Translation
See our video page.
Related Resources #
An older version of this activity can be downloaded in PDF format here. The content is similar to the current version, but there’s some extra technical information.
More activities and lessons #
- An indoor version of this activity as an interactive powerpoint. Courtesy of Tom Cortina (CMU)
- National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has a learning package called Unplugged in a Box which has detailed lesson plan of the “Treasure Hunt” activity.
- The Mathmaniacs web site has a similar activity (lesson 5), and a related one (lesson 6)
- [Requires Java installed] SwissEduc has a programming environment called Kara, which is a programmable ladybird robot that has been developed to help teach Computer Science concepts such as finite state machines, turing machines. The variations of this program are given below:
- [Registration and software download required] The Greenroom resources area using the Greenfoot software has the treasure finding finite state automata exercise you can download and use in the Greenfoot environment. If you are a teacher, you can apply easily to join and use the resources there.
If you want to find out more #
Additional resources #
- Mordechai (Moti) Ben-Ari from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel has programmed the Finite State Automata Unplugged activity in Scratch which can be downloaded in a zip file of the complete set of activities. Please read the
Curriculum Links #
Great Principles of Computer Science #
ACM K12 Curriculum #
- Level I (Grades 6-8) Topic 11: Understand the graph as a tool for representing problem states and solutions to complex problems