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Instructional Strategies


Unit Summary

The computer uses a microprocessor to do its work. This unit outlines design and manufacture of chips and the role they play in many of today's technologies. The online lessons, readings, and videos introduce students to:

  • Computers are machines that rapidly and accurately process information.
  • Microprocessors are a relatively small component in size of the total computer.
  • Computers continually process instructions using the same fetch/decode/execute cycle.
  • Instructions for a microprocessor need to be step-by-step and extremely precise.
  • A microprocessor's circuitry is incredibly small (microscopic).
  • A microprocessor's circuits are made with a complex layering process.

Goals and Objectives
Students will:

  • Understand what a microprocessor is and how it works
  • Know what steps are involved in the design and manufacture of microprocessors
  • Understand how microprocessors use instructions to accomplish tasks

 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)
  • Ingredients for making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to use with the High-Tech Sandwiches handout (Have cleaning supplies ready!)
  • Instruction cards for the first activity in the Fetch, Decode, and Execute handout. Use index cards to create a variety of instructions. Put one instruction on each card. When you have all the cards ready, place them into a box labeled Instruction Box.

Some example instruction cards:

  • Fold this card and put it on the teacher's desk.
  • Give this card to someone who is wearing glasses.
  • Turn around twice and then put the card back in the box.
  • If the lights in the room are on, turn them off. If the lights in the room are off, turn them on.
  • Smile and say, "Good morning, Teacher."
  • Pat yourself on the back, and pull your hair once.


  1. Have students complete the online activities: Throughout the unit, facilitate the development of new vocabulary introduced in this unit.
  2. Students who are not at the computer can work on supplemental lesson ideas and group activities.
  3. After students complete the online materials, they can:
  • Explain, in their own words, a concept they have learned 

  • Explain why they think chips might be extremely sensitive to contamination during the manufacturing process

Online Resources

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

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