Introducing school students to the idea of Software Testing - Need Ideas

Hey folks!

Our company is taking massive efforts to educate college students and interns about the software testing craft and the importance of this field.

On the same lines, this time we have got a request from a school that wants us to give their students an idea on software testing.

The students would be from grade X and I am assuming that they will have no prior knowledge of software testing / development as a profession.

I will get 4 days with them (4 hours each).

Would you like to get creative and help me with some ideas, topics, resources, or a piece of advice to make this interesting for them?

I am trying something like this for the first time and I thought that our folks at The Club would have some valuable advice for me.

Let me know, how would have you approached such a session?


What a brilliant initiative.

I ran a session for school kids once. They were 13 to 14 years old. I did the following:

  • I asked them to all take out their phones – which was a surprise and joy for them
  • I asked them to just use their favourite app for 5 minutes – they actually couldn’t believe it!
  • I then described the concept of risks and things that might go wrong that threaten value – I kept it light-hearted and gave examples of feeling frustrated when things don’t work the way you want them to
  • I then asked them to explore their favourite app again yet this time with a mindset of finding things that annoy them about the app – and I asked them to take some notes
  • I then asked them to share some of what they discovered, just by putting their hand up and sharing out loud

It went ok. Some of them got it. And others were just a bit confused by it all. Still, it was fun and maybe it had an impact on at least one teenager.

If I were to run it again I’d also invite “capture things that you like about the app” as well as things that annoy you.


I did a much shorter session at a school but the things I covered, using items from The Coders Guild Software Testing Bootcamp were;

  • What software testing is, risk mitigation, emulating users, ensuring people with different needs were able to use it etc.
  • Used an input form to get the to think about testing then pointed out the things they didn’t notice. (Log in and login, mixed capitalisation, low contrast, multiple fonts, login or sign in, button lable, sign me in? (p.s. this is a real life login form!)
  • Went through the Mary Had a Little Lamb exercise of what does it actually mean. The children were shocked when we reached, Mary could be a sheep.
  • Difference between a check (binary outcome) and a test
  • Different mindsets of developers (creators) and testers (critics) using this image |320px;x434px;
  • Got them to think about big software bug impacts. Facebook and Whatsapp down, Bank apps not available, security breaches
    Good luck with it all

This is a really cool idea, especially as software testing is almost non-existent in traditional computer science learning pathways.

Can I ask how did people become involved in such a task, did you request to do it or was it part of an ongoing company initiative?


Workshops Workshops Workshops.

Students lose interests very quickly and especially when it’s pure theory.
Are they IT students btw?

What I notice most here in Belgium is that, they get a bit of Selenium and it’s ugly since most of the time the teachers don’t like testing themselves.

What you could do is provide them with testing challenges, provide them an application and let them search for X type of bugs.



It was a while back when I went through a course on Agile, but the jist of it the exercise was to build a resort made out of lego.
there were some random requirements for each team and the lecturer acted as the owner
There were two main phases:

  • phase 1 a full 30 minute run, with no roles assigned
  • Phase 2 three 10 minute runs, with a manager, assigned builders etc and with 3 minute sprint reviews at the end of each 10 minutes.

It was a good demonstration of how regular feedback and reflection helps with projects.


This is probably the video I recommend to watch on this: Open Lecture by James Bach on Software Testing - YouTube.

Watch science communicators for tips. Testing is science.

I’d include some experiential elements, in order for it to be engaging:

  • Do an induction logic game akin to Zendo, Elusis Express, or one of your own making.
  • A game of communication, like Concept, or a version of it that fits your needs.
  • Do a simple magic trick, or something else that challenges assumptions, like a hidden-meaning question like “I have a phone, what happens when I push the smallest button?” - depends on if its mobile, landline, rotary, hands free, etc; depends on if its charged, if it’s on or off, etc etc. You can invent a better question.

Know what you’re trying to teach and be ready to answer probing questions.

Hope some of that is of some inspiration.

Best of luck!


Not quite on the same scale as you are talking about here but I did a class talk to my daughters Primary 5 class about my career in Software Testing. It was good fun, getting them to think about different types of bugs that computer system might have. One little lad was very keen at the thought of testing: His eyes lit up “So wait… I actually get to break stuff on purpose and I won’t get into trouble… that’s cool!” :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

We finished off the session with how software is developed and got them to play the Agile coin game. Things like that are good for little post lunch warm up sessions or ice breakers.


Thank you! I will be using this idea :slight_smile:


Thank you! I will be using parts from your idea :slight_smile:


I was asked to do that as a part of an ongoing company’s initiative.


No, they are not IT students. They are general school students.

No specialization.

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Thanks, Chris!

I would be including a logic game and puzzle : )

Your ideas helped.


Thanks. I liked the coin game.

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The internship program is happening and it’s rocking!

Thank you for all the wonderful ideas.


Interesting there, care to elaborate on this exercise @adystokes?

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So this exercise is to examine each word individually and work out what the sentence could mean.
Who is Mary. We start with the assumption she is the little girl from the nursery rhyme but what if she isn’t? What if she isn’t human? Then the sentence becomes a sheep gave birth.
You can go through and come up with dozens of things it could mean.
Hope that helps?


I see what you did there @adystokes, clever exercise indeed. A good one to use if you don’t mind!

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Of course. Isn’t mine, possibly Jerry Weinberg’s


Thanks all for the ideas :slight_smile:

I implemented some of the ideas from here and published my experience report with this training for school interns here:

Experience Report: Testing Internship for School Students