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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 lesson will be an introduction to the main hardware components that make up a computer. This lesson will look at the main hardware components

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, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39

Key words CPU, RAM, USB, RJ45, SD, HDD, keyboard, mouse, monitor, peripheral, network These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  
Assessment identify the main hardware components in computing devices

Evidence here will be student's own work and assessor observations.


Key Questions Some questions to get learners thinking about the topics

Students need to be able to see and touch some of these components to be able to understand them close up

What does the term "hardware" mean?  Why is it different from "software"?  What is the relationship between hardware and software?  Are some hardware elements more important than others?
Learning Objectives
  • To understand the main hardware components of a computing device
  • To describe and explain the main parts of a computing device
  • To understand how different hardware elements in a computing device fit together
  • to be able to specify the best components for a given system

Ideally, it would be good to give students as much exposure to actual devices as possible.  There are usually old computers about in dark cupboards.  Some of the components may have changed in look (i.e. RAM), but should be generally recognizable.  Seeing the difference is useful as a talking point to show how they are evolving due to needs.

There are lots of on-line videos to supplement this.

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 and examples of the main components in a computer
  • Students can break into groups or on their own computer and make notes
  • Teacher led demonstration of components and functions
  • Summarize the key elements and their functions


CPU graphic The main focus of this particular assessment criterion is the student's awareness of the main parts that make a computer work.  They will go into more detail in the following sessions, but here they need to understand the whole picture and what parts are important.

Make sure you operate in a safe environment and watch out for sharp edges in computers and avoid electrical issues, as well as static.

Lesson Structure Possible structure
  1. introduce examples of hardware parts
  2. discuss with student how to find parts in a computer
  3. groups work on their own computer: take apart, or put back together
  4. plenary on the main parts
  5. highlight next week's focus and issue homework.  Homework and classwork will be to create a costed computer specification

The BBC icon computing site is a good starting point and overview, though hands-on activities would be more beneficial.  There is a useful Open Book Project logo  as well.  It shows images of the parts and explains something of what they do.

There are plenty of videos, such as from How Stuff Works logo though most are US pundits.

The simple wiki page is also a good overview of the key components.

If you have some Raspberry Pi logoresources, these will be useful for an introduction to the main components as well.  Using these computers will also be useful in later lessons for the networking evidence.

A basic list of health and safety issues here.

Homework Students can write a proposal for a "client" computer.  You can have a small number of clients with differing needs: artist (so expensive CPU and graphics), small company, so basic power, server.  They can use the web to research the parts and cost.  Give a range of budgets, say £600-4,000 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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