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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 focus for this criterion is for the students to investigate and assess issues of performance and power in hardware components.  They need to understand the way they interact with each other and what it means for them as digitally literate users

Students should investigate and discuss issues about computer power as this will become increasingly an issue.

The exponential growth of ever more powerful devices means more power consumption and more demand for power.  Can the two be addressed together?

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, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Key words USB, Hard drive, SSD, ports, CPU, RAM, mouse, keyboard, stylus, monitor, microphone, PSU, VGA, PCI, power consumption These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  

identify power consumption and performance as key limits on hardware

Evidence here will be student's own work, eportfolios and assessor observations  
Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics Students will continue to investigate the power and performance of computing hardware in order to compile a dossier of components and corresponding data for their own reference What is more important: power or performance?  Is it important to make hardware more efficient?  What is the trade off between power and performance?
Learning Objectives
  • understanding hardware power consumption
  • be able to explain the main measures of power and performance
  • be able to discuss the difference between power and performance

Students should show that they can evaluate the benefits and cost implications of their hardware choices and be informed consumers of digital technology.

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
  • Continuing look at power and performance
  • Further investigation of components features and functions in relation to power and performance
  • Students can break into groups and work on a range of hardware devices to investigate their power and performance
  • Class discussion and examples of their findings
  • Group or individual work on describing power and performance

Discuss with students what some of the terms mean and what they can deduce from looking at the numbers.  They don't need to know a huge amount of detail about numbers to do basic comparisons.  An Apple laptop is 2-3 times more than a non Apple laptop with the same specifications.  Why the cost difference?  Is the performance greater to justify the cost?  How can it be with the same hardware?

Does a USB 3 device use the same power as a USB 2? What is the difference in performance?

Use some of the student's ideas and examples to flesh out a solid understanding before progressing

Question students about how and why they did what they did.  Check for understanding.


Lesson Structure Possible structure
  1. continuing to investigate hardware components and their performance
  2. investigate in detail more components to illustrate the way to evaluate the power and performance
  3. write up of hardware features and functions in terms of their power and performance
  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

USB super speed logo What do the power ratings on computer hardware mean and how can they be used?  How do you measure performance?  The following sites have lots of data that can be used for comparisons and guidance.

Saverstore logo Dabs logo  eBuyer logo

Other sites can be used for basic comparisons, particularly for CPUs.

 is a good place to look for some basic definitions as well and usually has some of the background history.

Some of the processor's history of performance and power is discussed here.

Homework Get students to continue to compile a table of information about key hardware components: price, capacity, OS compatibility, performance, connections etc. 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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