Graham Hill Sorting Cups

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  1. Bubble Sort [47.82 MB]

  2. Selection Sort [43.63 MB]

  3. Insertion Sort [31.06 MB]

  4. Quick (Single Array) Sort [75.51 MB]

  5. Merge Sort [82.47 MB]

  6. Linear Search [8.7 MB]

  7. Binary search [19.8 MB]

Sorting Algorithms With Stacking Cups

MeasureUp Cups

Cups Distributed By Discovery Toys for $15.99CDN
In Calgary in June 2002 for $12CDN from Lori Nordquist: 403-547-6323

I attended a SIGCSE conference in Cincinnati in Feburary (2002) and got very excited at the first workshop that I attended. The presenters were demonstrating the use of "toys" for teaching algorithms. One of their many ideas was the use of stacking cups in practicing sorting algorithms. When I returned I first tried it with my grade 12 class as they prepared for their IB exams. Most enjoyed the "hands-on" exercises and so I then introduced the use of stacking cups to a group of grade 10 students studying Java for the first time.

The IBO (International Baccalaureate Orgnaization) requires that students know four different sorting algorithms, so I introduced sorting with stacking cups when we covered arrays. I think it was a smashing success, but you can judge for yourself as you watch the following AVI clips of the students doing part of their final test on arrays. They wrote a paper and pencil exam for half the marks (on arrays generally) and demonstrated the sorting algorithms with stacking cups for the other half of the marks.

I used my wife's Canon G2 camera to take the AVI clips. Unfortunately the camera stopped recording after 30 seconds when in high resolution. Sadly that is all that I got of each of Colin Luk's stacking cup tests because it wasn't until the day after Colin's tests that I discovered that I could that I could get 2 minutes of AVI digital video at a lower resolution. Everyone else did their stacking cup tests a week after Colin did his. By then I used the lower resolution and managed to capture everyone's entire stacking tests within the maximum allotted two minutes.

I recommend that you begin with Colin Luk in any case because Colin expained the algorithms very clearly before proceeding to demonstrate them with the stacking cups. Others give brief or no descriptions, which was all that I asked for. (Blame me!) I allowed three attempts if needed for each algorithm and was very lenient in grading the Quick Sort.

The following AVI files range in size from 2.5 - 4.5 megabytes.

To download a file, right mouse click on a link, left click on "Save target as ...", and save to your hard drive.

These AVI files were compressed with a Canon G2 digital camera using a codec (MJPG) unavailable in Windows operating systems for playback. Download and install (execute the downloaded file) this free codec and you will be able to playback these AVI files.

Alternatively, you may download, install and playback these AVI files using Apple's Quicktime 6 or later. (I initially stated that earlier versions would not work, but Clark Mueller - a student of mine - subsequently sent the following email: "Just in case you're interested, I managed to get those AVIs to play under QT v5.0.2 under Mac OS X v10.1.5, without any special add-ons.." - Thanks Clark.)

Colin Luk Bubble Selection Insertion Quick Intro
Quick ctd
Mandy Dunlop Bubble Selection Insertion Quick
Clark Mueller Bubble Selection Insertion Quick
Matthew Pan Bubble Not Available Insertion Quick
Peiyi Chen Bubble Selection Insertion Quick
Rosch Palma Bubble Selection Insertion Not Available
Daniel Gowie Bubble Selection Insertion Quick
Gary Mak Bubble Selection Insertion Quick
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URL:    Last Revised:   July 12, 2002