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:
Goals and Objectives
Time to Complete Online Lessons: about 60 minutes
1. Read the background information.
3. Organize materials and equipment:
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:
The following handouts can be used with this unit to enhance learning. Each handout is briefly described below. To see the actual handout, click the link "handout."
This handout encourages students to think about the ways people and computers are alike in what they can do and how they are different. Students fill in a chart with examples of things people and computers can do, only people can do, and only computers can do. They fill out a similar chart comparing computers with calculators.
An Information-Processing Machine
This handout teaches students the four components of a computer—input, storage, information processing, and output. Special attention is given to explaining the difference between microprocessors and the embedded processors in such devices as VCRs and remote controls. Students can fill in a chart comparing where input, storage, information processing, and output take place in a computer and for a person.
This handout helps students understand how computers are becoming a valuable information storage and retrieval system. Students compare computers to libraries and are asked to imagine what it might be like to access all the information in a library in the form of a CD-ROM.
This handout examines the first working computer to be made without mechanical components—the ENIAC. Students can create an ad for the ENIAC, write a press release for a computer today using the original press release for the ENIAC as a model, and make some discoveries about how people use computers in their jobs today.
Interactive Whiteboard Images
The images linked below are pertinent to this unit. You can project the images on an interactive whiteboard and use them in class discussions or activities.