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Introduction to Computers

Instructional Strategies

Introduction to Computers

Unit Summary

This unit is recommended as the starting point for The Journey InsideSM and provides a foundation on which the rest of the units build. The online lessons with readings, video demonstrations, and activities introduce students to:

  • A brief history of computers, from Stonehenge to modern computers
  • The four basic components of a computer: input, storage, processing, and output
  • The differences between the capabilities of an electronic brain and the human brain


Goals and Objectives
Students will:

  • Understand events that led to the development of the computer
  • Learn terminology for parts of the computer
  • Create a mental model of computers as information-processing machines
  • Understand differences between the human brain and the electronic brain


Time to Complete Online Lessons: about 60 minutes


1.      Read the background information.

2.      Review and prepare for supplemental lesson ideas and group activities.

3.      Organize materials and equipment:

  • Student computers with an active Internet connection
  • Copies of the student handouts for this unit that you plan to use
  • Printouts of the interactive whiteboard images (optional)
  • Old computer processor box (not monitor) that you can open to show students (optional)


1.      Have students complete the online activities. Throughout the unit, facilitate the development of new vocabulary introduced in this unit. Are students using terms such as chip, input, hardware, personal computer, and software accurately in class, during discussions, and in their written assignments?

2.      Students who are not at the computer can work on supplemental lesson ideas and group activities.

3.      After students complete the online activities, they can extend their learning by:

  • Presenting an oral or written report on a particular person who has played a role in the development of today's computers
  • Creating a time line that shows some of the major steps in computer history
Introduction to Computers

Online Resources

Teachers, view online resources to support and enhance your teaching unit.

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