Bebras is designed to get children to realise that computational thinking (computing or informatics) is great fun and to identify and recognise those with a talent for it. I think this is a fantastic idea.
A love of the type of logic puzzles that Bebras uses was my first taste of computer science (though I didn't realise it at the time.) Coding came later for me. And it's definitely the kind of computational thinking that Bebras promotes that draws me to computing. I think that if children realize that this is what computing is all about we might get a more diverse set of young people entering the discipline.
The Bebras questions test general logical thinking skills. These are closely tied to important concepts in computer science but children don't need to have studied computer science formally to attempt the questions. They are designed to be accessible to all.
The Bebras challenge is completed online, often during school computing lessons. Children have to answer as many multiple choice questions as possible within a time limit. Your children may get chance to take part in school, but if they don't you can still use resources from previous years at home.
It's too late to register for Bebras for this year , but if you're a teacher or homeschooler you can put it in the calendar for next year. Bebras is locally administered for each country so you'll need to check whether your country participates and what you'll need to do when. Note that not all countries hold the challenge at the same time.
There will be lots of children who don't (yet) have the opportunity to participate in the Bebras challenge. If your children aren't participating in the Bebras challenge this year then maybe you could tell them about it and ask if they could participate in future.
Meanwhile, the good news is that there are lots of Bebras resources available year round.
- There's a the Bebras Mini Challenge that kids (and adults if they like!) can take part in for fun, practice or to test their abilities.
- You can also access the US Bebras tasks from 2014 online without a login. This is a fantastic resource for developing and assessing computational thinking.
- For some deeper insight into the thinking behind the questions take a look at the UK 2014 Competition Booklets with Answers (but try the questions first.)