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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3.4 Computer Systems

Lesson resources

Introduction to hardware lesson
Introduction to hardware lesson
Hardware and software revision activity
Hardware & Software revision
Hardware banned words game
Hardware revision game
Software Banned Words game
Software revision game
Boolean logic activity
Boolean logic worksheet pack
Computer Science wordsearch pack
Computer Science word search pack
Computer Science crosswords pack
Computer Science crosswords pack
Recommended GCSE Computer Science textbooks
GCSE Computer Science textbooks

3.4.1 Hardware and Software

Input and output

BBC Bitesize

BBC Bitesize covers a wide range of input and output devices. Key concepts are clearly explained. The great thing about the BiteSize site is that it links to a series of related resources, including student activities, news article links, and online dictionaries and encyclopedias.


Updated: 2015-04-07
IGCSE ICT notes

IGCSE ICT

IGCSE ICT has notes on many topics (including input and output devices) that are useful for a range of ICT and Computing courses. The notes are very comprehensive, clearly divided into sections, well illustrated, and easily understandable for students. This is a good starting point for a lot of topics - not just for the IGCSE course.


Updated: 2015-04-07

Skinput

Skinput is a fascinating new technology that uses skin as input.
Updated: 2015-04-07

Teach-ICT

TeachICT: detailed notes covering printers, screens, speakers, and more. Teach-ICT does have a range of activities for most topics, though they tend to be a bit gamey and only really appealing to younger students.


Updated: 2015-04-07
Computer systems lesson plan

Lesson resources - Computer Systems

Lesson 1 - Computer Systems guides students through basic computing hardware. There are tasks to identify and describe input and output devices as well as label the internal components of the computer.

This lesson is one of the many excellent resources provided under CC-NC-SA by Mr Colley. I've added a PDF version of the original .pub documents included in the zip for those who don't have Microsoft Publisher.


Updated: 2017-10-15
Storage devices lesson plan

Lesson resources - Storage devices

This download contains PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, and Internet resources for the topic storage devices. It includes a comparison of the types of devices and their properties.

This lesson is one of the many excellent resources provided under CC-NC-SA by Mr Colley.


Updated: 2017-10-15
Input output crossword

Input output crossword

A simple crossword testing students' understanding of input and output devices.


Updated: 2017-10-24
Input output activity

Input - output starter / plenary

A short task that gets students to consider the input and output devices used in less common situations: in an aircraft cockpit and on an artist's design workstation.


Updated: 2017-10-24
Spot the mistakes classroom activity

Spot the mistakes exercises

The slides in this presentation present basic 'facts' about computing fundamentals: input, output, binary, hexadecimal, and data representation. Each slide contains a number of basic mistakes (highlighted on the following slide). Students simply need to read through the text, spot the mistakes - and correct them. These activities work well as quick lesson starters or plenaries to check understanding.


Updated: 2017-10-24

3.4.2 Boolean Logic

Logic lab

Logic Lab

Logic Lab is a free online logic circuit simulator featuring many input and output devices, and even a propeller!


Updated: 2015-04-06
AND, OR, NOT gates

Logic gates: AND, OR, NOT

A revision video from Computerphile which covers the three basic logic gates: AND, OR, and NOT. The video includes truth tables, logic gate symbols, and the different notations that are used to denote 'AND' and 'OR'.


Updated: 2015-04-19
Boolean logic lesson resources

Boolean logic worksheets

These sheets from cse4k12 are excellent activities to help students understand Boolean logic and Boolean conditions. The sheets present students with a series of 2D shapes with different properties. Students must identify and use different Boolean conditions (e.g. isTriangle, isShaded) to select particular groups of shapes.

PDF and SVG versions of the documents are supplied, and they are licenced under CC-SA, so you can make alterations if you wish (e.g. adding colour)

The site also has several related worksheets, such as Boolean logic to Venn diagram handouts and truth tables for logic gates.


Updated: 2017-10-17
Logic gates handout and test

Logic gates handout and test

These two handouts provide a summary of logic gates and truth tables, and a simple test sheet on the same topic which is useful as a lesson starter.

The sheets were created by Gary Kacmarcik at cse4k12 site and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


Updated: 2017-10-17
Truth table worksheets

Boolean logic worksheet pack

These three Boolean logic worksheets have exam style questions on logic statements and truth tables. There are 22 questions in total, covering AND, OR, and NOT gates. Answer sheets included.
Updated: 2018-05-17

3.4.3 Software Classification

Utility software

Utility Software and Models

Some students find the difference between operating system software and utility software hard to understand. This video should help clarify the differences (and also the difference between application software and utility software), with plenty of good examples. It also covers the basics of computer software models.


Updated: 2018-02-17
Operating Systems

Operating System (OS) - GCSE Computer Science

A detailed overview of operating systems, starting with the general tasks they perform (process management, memory management, user interface) and then going into more detail about how these tasks are performed. The video is aimed at GCSE courses and so does not go into lots of detail about how (for example) an OS schedules tasks - but it is more than enough to cover the GCSE syllabus.


Updated: 2018-02-17

3.4.4 Systems Architecture

Storage

BBC Bitesize: Data Storage

Covers all aspects of primary and secondary storage devices, including interactive lesson activities, notes, and a revision quiz. Well illustrated, this page also details the relative advantages and disadvantages of each storage medium.


Updated: 2015-04-25
Storage

IGCSE ICT: Storage

Although targetted at the IGCSE ICT syllabus, this site still has a lot of useful information for other courses. Their section on storage covers different types of storage media and storage devices, including optical, magnetic, and solid state systems. They also have a section on backing up data.


Updated: 2015-04-25
Storage

TeachICT: Storage

Teach-ICT is a popular site which covers the basic topics of computer science - in this case, with notes on secondary storage devices and comparisons in terms of capacity, speed, portability, durability, and reliability. It also has a small section on online storage (cloud computing)


Updated: 2015-04-25
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
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
Main memory

Main Memory

This video examines the three main types of of main memory and explains the purpose of each. It also highlights common confusion surrounding between RAM, ROM, cache, and registers. Each memory type is compared in terms of speed, capacity, cost, and volatility.


Updated: 2017-11-12
Von Neumann

The CPU and Von Neumann Architecture

This video covers the components of the CPU such as the Control Unit (CU) and the Arithmetic and Logic Unit (ALU). It also explains the fetch-decode-execute model of the Von Neumann architecture.


Updated: 2017-11-12