Finite State Automata

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)



  • Teachers in Japan, preparing to be islands

Related Resources


Curriculum Links

Great Principles of Computer Science [info]
  • Computation
ACM K12 Curriculum [info]
  • Level I (Grades 6-8) Topic 11: Understand the graph as a tool for representing problem states and solutions to complex problems
New Zealand Curriculum [info]
  • Mathematics Level 2: Position and orientation
    • Describe different views and pathways from locations on a map
  • Mathematics Level 3: Probability
    • Investigate simple situations that involve elements of chance by comparing experimental results with expectations from models
  • Technology Level 2: Planning for Practice
    • Develop a plan that identifies the key stages and the resources required to complete an outcome
  • Technology Level 2: Technological Systems
    • Understand that there are relationships between the inputs, controlled transformations, and outputs occurring within simple technological systems.