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Find the kitchen (in almost any house!)

By David, 13 August 2013 Activity

The following instructions are designed to find the kitchen in your house. This activity won’t work in all houses – and don’t go into any places you’re not supposed to be in – but it’s quite fun to see where the instructions take you!

What to do

  • Start by doing step 0 of the instructions. Each step will tell you which step to read next.
  • Some steps have a question. If the answer is Yes, only do the Yes bit of the step. If the answer is No, only do the No bit of the step.
  • These instructions don’t always find the kitchen. If you end up stuck in a loop, stop. Can you work out a way to improve the instructions?

    Someone in front of a photocopier. there is an arrow pointing left.

    When you run into something, turn left.

The instructions

  1. Start at your front door. Face the inside of the house. Then go to step 1.
  2. Take one step, then go to step 2.
  3. Did you run into something?
  • No: go to step 4.
  • Yes: go to step 3.
  1. Have you been here before?

    someone standing in front of a photocopier. there's an arrow pointing right.

    If you’ve been here before, turn right.

  • No: Turn to the left, then go to step 4.
  • Yes: Turn to the right, then go to step 4.
  1. Are you in the kitchen yet?
  • No: Go to step 1.
  • Yes: Well done! You are now finished!

What’s happening?

These instructions are not specifically designed to go from front doors to kitchens. They are just a set of rules that are pretty good at exploring buildings. This set of rules does not always find the kitchen. It often gets stuck when there are no doors in the corners of a room.

Someone in front of a wall, next to a photocopier. there's an arrow pointing right.

You might have to turn multiple times in the same place!

This set of instructions is an example of an algorithm. An algorithm is a step-by-step set of instructions designed to give a final result. In this activity, the final result is getting you into the kitchen.

If you want to add two large numbers together, you start by adding the ones digits, then the tens digits, and so on. After every step you know what the next step is, and at the end, you have an answer. The method you use for adding large numbers together is actually an algorithm!

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