Teach Computing

Revision notes, activities, lesson plans, teaching ideas, and other resources for GCSE, A-Level, and IB Computer Science teachers and students.

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UK Computing Laws

This video from Computer Science Tutor covers the main UK computing laws re...

Wireless Networking (Wi-Fi, Security, and Hardware)

This video about wireless networking includes everything that is needed for...

Network topology videos

These four excellent videos from Computer Science tutor cover the four ma...

Network protocols

These four videos explain the main networking protocols that students are l...

Embedded Systems video

This short video is a good over of embedded systems, covering the main poin...

Representing Text in Binary

This video clearly explains the two main ways of representing text in binar...

Types of Malware

This video explains the various types of malware including viruses and troj...

Protecting against Malware

Following on from the Types of Malware video, this video explains technique...

Video: Network Security #1

This video gives an overview of the threats to networked computer systems, ...

Resources discount offer

1.4 Processor Fundamentals

Click here for recommended Cambridge A-Level Computer Science textbooks.

1.4.1 CPU architecture

How computers work activity

How Computers Work - Kinesthetic Activity

In this kinesthetic activity students act out the roles of the Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU), the CPU, the memory, and the display as they act out how these basic hardware components function by "running" sample programs. This is a great way of introducing the basic concepts before moving on to more advanced machine architecture. You can download the following sheets:

This activity was created by Gary Kacmarcik from cse4k12.org and is licensed under the Creative Commons CC-SA licence.


Updated: 2015-04-25

1.4.2 The fetch-execute cycle

Little Man Computer simulator

Little Man Computer (LMC)

The Little Man Computer (LMC) is a software simulator of a simple computer with a CPU, memory, and a basic instruction set. Students can enter programs in either assembly language or machine code and follow their exceution by watching the change state of the program counter, accumulator, and memory. More advanced versions show animated representations of the address and data lines too. The LMC is a great tool for helping students visualise how code and data are represented in memory and how the fetch-execute cycle works.

There are now many versions of the LMC available. Some of the best include:

Most of these versions of the LMC include instructions but probably the clearest explanation of the instruction set is from Durham University.
Updated: 2015-04-25

1.4.3 The processor’s instruction set

Note: Students also study logic gates in more detail in topic 3.3.1 Logic gates and circuit design

1.4.4 Assembly language

Note: Students also study logic gates in more detail in topic 3.3.1 Logic gates and circuit design