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Section Title Primary information Description and Notes Suggested resources
Lesson Length The expected lesson length will be approximately one hour

Some variation possible.

Assessment Level 1

Students The lesson is suitable for KS3 and KS4 students Since this is a new specification, the lesson is suitable for Year 7 to 9 students and differentiated by outcome  
Overall Focus The lesson focus will be to look a bit more closely at what makes a computer model need improvement This lesson will build on a previous lesson which introduced features in a very general sense.  The key focus will be on weaknesses or areas for improvement

Lesson Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Key words abstraction, programming language, instruction, open source, digital, file types, variable These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  
Assessment Identify strengths and weaknesses in computer models Evidence here will be student's reflecting on what makes models not work so well and how they could be improved.  
Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics It is not always easy to criticise something, especially software, but students should have enough experience with software and computer interfaces to have an idea of good and bad How can a computer model be improved?  What features do you need to be looking for: colours, fonts, layout, operation, menus, instructions?  What is the worst system you have used: why?
Learning Objectives
  • To understand and appreciate the importance of quality in computer model design
  • To describe and explain, with examples, how computer models can be evaluated in terms of improvements
  • To understand how computer models are devised and created to limit weaknesses

Students can now focus more specifically on the weaknesses of models they have looked at and others they may have used in other subject areas and begin to reflect and document these ideas

Students need to start thinking about how important computer modeling is to all of their activities.

If you are using the Learning Machine learning system, students can add their comments and material to this site as evidence of their growing understanding.  The site, if used consistently, will show progression via charts of activity and outcomes.
Teaching and Learning Elements
  • Review the previously introduced software systems to look for and discuss their specific weak points
  • A teacher led demonstration of your view of some of these systems, as a guide to what you see as weak points
  • Students can break into groups and work on their own ideas about the software's weak points
  • Class discussion and evaluation of the wider uses of good design
  • Summarize the key points and reinforce the importance of evaluation

In this lesson we need to give students the tools and knowledge to begin thinking about what makes things weak and therefore requiring improvement.  They need to start considering the purpose of computer models and therefore how well they meet their design goals.

Use some of the student's own work and share with the group and discuss the quality of the impressions chosen.  Question students about how and why they did what they did.  Check for understanding.

Lesson Structure Possible structure
  1. introduce some of the previous software models and talk in specific terms about their weak features
  2. show students some more detailed examples of computer systems
  3. group work to work on some of their own views
  4. discuss what they have learned and what they can apply
  5. volunteers to share their work and explain how they came to their opinions
  6. highlight next week's focus and issue homework

Look at software in terms of ways it might be improved.  Is it easy to use.  Does it do what you expect it to do etc.

Even big companies get it wrong.

You can also use simulation software such as the   BBC logobased human body game.  Get students to try the systems as a possible user.  Think about the way they work and why.

Use PHET logo simulations to explain their interface and their ease of use

Discuss what the systems are supposed to do and how well they do certain things.  The emphasis here is on the aspects they think could be improved.  Compare 2 or 3 simulation models to see which ones have the weakest feature set.

Students in groups can explore these systems and discuss amongst themselves what they don't like.  Is there agreement?  What makes something that everyone dislikes.  Is that something that is universal?

Homework Get students to write a review of their least favourite piece of software and why it is so bad to them.  Concentrate on the weaknesses as they understand them Students can vary their homework depending on their level of understanding Get students to document their experience on their portfolio system for assessment


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