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.
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 execution 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:
- Little Man Computer (Flash version) which runs in the browser
- Little Man Computer (Java applet) which runs in a web browser (Java plugin needed)
- Little Man Computer (Windows version) for Windows with .NET installed.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Binary Tetris is a flash game designed to help teach students the binary number system. Players must flip bits to achieve the required number, or add up the bits to calculate the number being represented. I'd recommend asking students to turn their sound off before starting this!
This is a fun little matching pairs style game in which players must match decimal numbers with their hexadecimal equivalents. A good way of testing students' ability to quickly perform mental conversions. Click here to play.
Unicode table is a nice scrollable web page which lists all of the unicode characters. The title and a brief description of each section is presented while you scroll. This page is useful for helping students realise just how many different characters need to be represented by computer systems, and the problems this would cause with a standard like Unicode.
Section 5.5.2 of this much bigger page on data representation covers the uses of hexadecimal numbers to represent colours in images. It explains the correlation between the hexadecimal digits and the number of bits available, and the effect the bit depth has on the appearance of the image. The excellent interactives really make the concept come alive and visually highlight these differences to students. A highly recommended resource.
This handy PDF serves as a good summary sheet for students learning to count in binary. It covers decimal numbers from 0 to 63 (5 bits). It is good for GCSE and younger students, although it can be useful for older students too.
The sheet was created by Gary Kacmarcik at the excellent cse4k12 site and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Similar to the binary sheet, this handy document covers decimal numbers 0 to 63. It is useful for teaching students who are new to binary, or as a quick recap for those revising it. The sheet was created by Gary Kacmarcik at the excellent cse4k12 site and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Gary Kacmarcik at the excellent cse4k12 site has created a set of sheets for a lesson activity on text representation. The first sheet is an ASCII table and the other two sheets ask students to encode a text message and decode a message respectively. Note that students are expected to encode and decode using hexadecimal rather than binary (although they could easily be asked to use binary instead).
CS Field Guide is an absolutely fantastic resource filled with material that is well written, clear,and accessible. Each section comes with highlighted key points, extension points, and even interactives to help understand the concepts. The interactives are excellent as teaching resources (many of them are linked here), while the notes themselves make excellent revision resources - particularly for GCSE.
This section covers all aspects of data representation - numbers, text, images, and instructions.
A colour matching tool that asks users to play with the RGB sliders to match a specified colour. This is a great way to help students understand how red, green, and blue are mixed to produce colours. What makes this colour matcher stand out is that it also represents the colour values in binary (24 bit) at the bottom. This makes it a useful companion for tools like Pixelization (see elsewhere on this page).
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.
The sheets were created by Gary Kacmarcik at cse4k12 site and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.