Education Technology

Year 8: Coding Hailstones

by Texas Instruments


Data representation and interpretation Investigate techniques for collecting data, including census, sampling and observation - ACMSP284



  • Factor
  • Prime
  • Composite
  • Even / Odd
  • Algorithm


  • IF / Then/ Else
  • While / EndWhile
  • Mod
  • Request
  • Display

About the Lesson

This activity investigates the popular hail stone problem. Students initially explore the problem manually to help build the desire to automate the sequence generation. Students then write a simple program to generate the numbers turning the focus of the lesson away from the relatively simple and repetitive task of sequence generation into a more inquiry focused task, looking for patterns. Students can graph sequence length versus initial number and look for patterns. Other options within this task include exploring prime and composite sequence length or explorations that lead to the notion that ‘powers of two’ produce a relentless degeneration of the sequence and can also lead to a level of algebraic investigation for more able students.