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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 This lesson introduces the notion of capacity in relation to transmissions and how bandwidth can be measured and affected. The lesson will look at how data is transmitted by different media, in particular to compare the performance of cables versus wireless transmission methods and how this relates to speed.

Lesson Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Key words bandwidth, fibre optic, Ethernet, wireless, digital divide These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  
Assessment relate bandwidth to data transfer capacity Evidence here will be the students showing a basic understanding of the measures of speed and bandwidth and some idea of the limitations. Explore different cable transmission speeds if possible.  Investigate cable structures and look into how wireless signals work.
Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics Some questions and examples will get the students thinking about what controls transmissions and what the restrictions are on bandwidth. What is the real speed?  If your home broadband is 8Mbit/s, is that what you get all the time?  If not, why not?  Is a 108Mbit/s Wi-Fi faster than a 100Mbit/s cable system?
Learning Objectives
  • To understand and describe bandwidth
  • To explain, with examples, the different speeds available
  • To understand how bandwidth is measured
  • an understanding of some of the restrictions on bandwidth
  • To understand what features are used to control and regulate speed

Students will need to understand the measures and meanings in relation to bandwidth and carrying capacity.

They need to investigate the speed and time associated with data transfer on different systems and how this is affected by bandwidth.

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
  • introduction to bandwidth measures and speeds
  • detailed look at the main capacities with examples
  • Students can break into groups and work on some basics of transfer speeds
  • Class discussion and evaluation of the wider issues of data transmission
  • Summarize the key points and reinforce the importance of security of data

In this lesson we need to discuss how bandwidth is measured and how this relates to their own usage.  They need to understand the implications of moving data around, especially in open networks.  If you are on a PAYG mobile phone, why is it not so good to watch your favourite YouTube videos at the local park.

There is no need to go into great details, but it would be useful to explore some of the specific of data transmission.

Lesson Structure Possible structure
  1. investigate transmission speeds
  2. investigate Wi-Fi and cable speeds and compare them on cost
  3. group work to work on some of their own views and examples
  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


Students should be able to identify different measures of transmission speed and relate this to data transfer needs they might have.

The technology controlling transmissions is constantly changing and they need to have a good overview of this development and where it currently stands.

Is there real value in your mobile device?

Homework Get students to test various Wi-Fi spots with a mobile device to compare connection speeds. 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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