Manipulatives for Computer Science

CS2Mulch is a collection of physical manipulatives specifically developed to improve comprehension of advanced data structures concepts in computer science. Students can see, touch, and move the data to experience first-hand the space and time compromises inherent in information storage and retrieval.

Two original decks of cards (Acorns and Menagerie) along with supporting chits have been designed, tested, and refined that can form the basis for collaborative peer exercises.

Students can use these tools to add and remove elements from binary search trees or heaps, understand the efficiency compromises of sorting algorithms such as quicksort and bubble sort, and compare hash table collision resolution algorithms like linear probing, and cuckoo hashing.

CS2Mulch is available for purchase from The Game Crafter. These resources, along with lesson plans and supporting materials, also freely available, either for PDF download and modification through a Creative Commons license, or virtually through the online board game sandbox software Tabletopia.

Binary Search Tree Example

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Sample Binary Search Tree.

Hash Table Example

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Sample Hash Table.