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Craft the Curriculum Files, Records and Open Data

A activity to explore some open data and how files, arrays and records can be used to process it

Peter Donaldson

Created by Peter Donaldson
last edited Aug 21 2015 by Peter Donaldson


Open data is an increasingly common phenomenon where large datasets are made available to the public, usually in the form of XML or flat (e.g. CSV) files. This activity makes use of the open data provided by the Food Standards Agency Scotland under the Food Hygiene Information Scheme. It consists of a series of exercises to explore the raw data, to identify questions that could be answered using the data, and to examine existing and develop new short “data-crunching” programs to answer the questions. The skills and understanding learned in this activity should be transferrable to any open data repository.

Pupils will be able to understand

  • how a program can process complex structured data held in text files in order to generate new information.
  • the similarities and differences of arrays of records within a programming language and a database table.
  • the phenomenon of open data and the value it has.

Level: Higher Computing Science

Duration: 3 to 4 periods

Teaches: Open data, File formats, e.g. CSV, File handling and Records

Acknowledgements and License

Inspiration for this event came from #CASincludes Hack the Curriculum days.

This idea and associated resources were developed by Professor Quintin Cutts – University of Glasgow, Professor Richard Connor – University of Strathclyde, Kelly MacDonald – Harris Academy- Dundee City and Kirsty Allan – Greenwood Academy- North Ayrshire

During a Craft the Curriculum for Higher Computing Science joint event held by PLAN C and Education Scotland

© Crown copyright 2015. You may re-use this information (excluding logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

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