UTPA STEM/CBI Courses/Computer Science/Arrays

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Course Title: Computer Science I

Lecture Topic: Arrays

Instructor: Christine Reilly

Institution: University of Texas - Pan American

Backwards Design[edit | edit source]

Course Objectives

  • Primary Objectives- By the next class period students will be able to:
    • Identify cases where arrays are useful
    • Write C++ code to create an array
    • Write C++ code to access an array element
  • Sub Objectives- The objectives will require that students be able to:
    • Understand how array elements are indexed
    • Have a good understanding of basic C++ programming
  • Difficulties- Students may have difficulty:
    • Understanding how one variable can hold multiple values
    • Remembering the correct syntax for accessing elements of an array
  • Real-World Contexts- There are many ways that students can use this material in the real-world, such as:
    • Games that use a series of data. Any game that uses a hand of cards or a series of dice. Board games such as checkers, chess, and Connect-Four can be represented using a two dimensional array.
    • Data management systems can be represented using arrays. Examples are the contents of a shopping cart and information about the employees of a company.

Model of Knowledge

  • Concept Map
    • Analysis of problem, requires
      • Critical thinking skills
      • Summarizing skills
    • Design of solution (algorithm design), requires
      • Problem decomposition skills
      • Understanding of underlying programming concepts
        • Data types
        • Sequence
        • Control structures
        • Modular programming
        • Arrays -- this lesson
        • Abstract data types
        • Pointers
        • Data structures and algorithms
      • Use of design tools - pseudo code writing skills
    • Implementation of solution - tools of the trade
      • Learned in lectures through
        • Slides
        • Analogies
        • Simple programs
        • Group exercises
      • Using C++ to implement underlying concepts
      • Applying underlying concepts, covered in lectures using
        • In-class exercises
        • Lab assignments
        • Homework assignments
  • Content Priorities
    • Enduring Understanding
      • Create an array
      • Initialize the array
      • Retrieve the value of a single element of the array
    • Important to Do and Know
      • How to iterate through an array
      • Change the value of an array element
    • Worth Being Familiar with
      • How to use a programming environment such as Visual C++

Assessment of Learning

  • Formative Assessment
    • In Class (groups)
      • Working in groups to brainstorm an algorithm and write short segments of code to solve a small problem
      • Working in groups to trace a code fragment and determine the output of that code fragment
    • Homework (individual)
      • Programming project where the students use arrays to solve a given problem
      • Worksheet on basic array creation, initialization, and element access
  • Summative Assessment
    • Exam
      • Code trace problems
      • Writing short fragments of code

Legacy Cycle[edit | edit source]


By the next class period, students will be able to:

  • Write C++ code to create and initialize arrays of any size
  • Write C++ code to access an element within an array
  • Write C++ code to iterate through an array

The objectives will require that students be able to:

  • Understand basic C++ programming
  • Understand how arrays are indexed


<Part 1> You are the programmer for MicroAir Airline. Every MicroAir airplane has 10 seats. You are given the task to write a program to manage the seat assignments on an airplane. The names of the passengers are stored in a file. The seats are numbered 1 through 10. Your program reads this file and assigns each passenger to a seat. The program needs to have a function to print the passenger list starting at seat 1 and going to seat 10, and another function to print the list starting at seat 10 and going to seat 1.

<Part 2> You have changed jobs and now work for JumboAir Airlines. Every JumboAir airplane has 200 seats. JumboAir also wants you to write a program that manages the seat assignments on an airplane. Can you make some small modifications and reuse the program you built while you were working at MicroAir?


  • Have the students work in groups on Part 1 of the challenge. Ask them to write an algorithm to solve the problem.
    • What is your approach to the problem?
    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your approach?
  • Add Part 2 of the challenge. Have the students go back to their groups.
    • Can the Part 1 solution work for Part 2?
    • What are the strengths and weaknesses of Part 1 applied to Part 2?
    • Are there changes to the solution to Part 1 that might make the program work better for Part 2? You don't need to know how to write a program for these solutions, just outline your ideas.


  • Discuss a sample of the students' solutions to Part 1 and Part 2.
    • Point out the strengths and weaknesses to the Part 1 solutions.
    • Discuss the ideas generated in Part 2.
  • Lecture on Arrays. Focus on how we could build a good solution for Part 2 of the challenge question.
    • How to store people's names and their airplane seat.
    • How to access an element of the array.
    • How to iterate through the array to print each element.


  • Students will work on exercises to practice simple problems using arrays.
  • Have the students outline a solution for Part 2 of the challenge, using arrays.


  • In-class exercises: students work individually or in small groups on code trace or short programming problems. We then discuss the solution, and try another similar problem.


  • Students will complete a programming assignment that requires them to use arrays to solve a complex problem.
  • Students will take an exam where they have to answer questions about using arrays.

Pre-Lesson Quiz[edit | edit source]

1 An array can store many types of values


2 An array index starts with 1


3 The following is a proper declaration and initialization of an array

int arr[5] = {6, 9, 27, 76, 81};


Test Your Mettle Quiz[edit | edit source]

NOTE: The wiki code for this quiz has some errors

1 The following code will compile and run without errors:

int arr[10] = { 0 };
for( int i = 0; i <= 10; i++ )
   arr[i] = 1;


2 The output of the following code is:

int arr[5] = {5, 4, 3, 2, 1};

arr[1] = arr[4] + arr[1];
arr[3] = arr[3] + 1;

for( int i = 0; i < 5; i++ )
   cout << arr[i] << " ";

5 4 3 3 1
5 5 3 3 1
8 4 3 4 5
7 4 4 2 1