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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 will continue with students applying and documenting their knowledge of computer hardware and components

This lesson will look at the main hardware components through students documenting their purpose

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, 38, 39

Key words CPU, RAM, USB, RJ45, SD, HDD, motherboard, graphics, keyboard, mouse, monitor, peripheral, network These words need to be reinforced throughout the series of lessons  
Assessment match discreet components in computing devices to purpose

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 do the different hardware components actually do?  Why are there different kinds of CPU, memory and hard disks?  What is a peripheral?  Is solid state technology the "way to go"?.  Why?  Why not?  Are computers getting faster?
Learning Objectives
  • To understand the functions of the main hardware components
  • To describe and explain the functions of the main parts of a computing device
  • To understand how different hardware elements in a computing device operate

You can continue showing and discussing different components, but students need to begin showing that they understand them well enough to fit them together in a system in the right place and for the right purpose

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 to a project to document computer components for the school
  • Students can break into groups or on their own to research and document
  • Teacher led demonstration of components and functions to reinforce understanding
  • Summarize the key elements and their functions


CPU Image The main focus of this particular assessment criterion is the student's awareness of the key features and functions of the main parts that make a computer work.  They should be able to describe in some detail what the components do and how they work.

Students could be asked to create a short document for the school on the best parts to buy for a new computer specification for the school IT labs.  They need to say what the components is, what it does, and how it is used.  For example, the heat sink on a CPU or graphics card takes away the heat so that the component does not get damaged. Most CPUs will self-destruct over 80C.

Some sort of quiz might be useful as a check of what they have understood.

Lesson Structure Possible structure
  1. concentrate on examples of hardware parts and their functions
  2. discuss with student how to find what the parts in a computer actually do
  3. groups work on their own research and documentation
  4. plenary on the main parts
  5. begin to document of findings
  6. highlight next week's focus and issue homework

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.

Students should show an understanding of the main components such that they can apply this knowledge.  The should, for example, know that a power supply reduces the voltage from the mains (240v) to what the computer operates on (3-12v).

Homework Students can complete their brief guide on the hardware components they are looking at.  It needs to have a picture and a description of what it is and does. 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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