This unit takes students on a tour through the different layers of computing systems: from programs and the operating system, through the physical components that store and execute these programs, to the fundamental binary building blocks of which these components are made. 

The aim is to provide a concise overview of how computing systems operate through conveying the essentials, but removing the technical details that might confuse or put off learners.

The last lessons cover two interesting contemporary topics: Artificial Intelligence and Open Source software. Both topics are linked back to the content of the unit, helping learners to broaden their knowledge and focus on the topics addressed in the unit. 

The unit assumes no prior knowledge but there are links to the Years 8 and 9 units on ‘Representations’ and the Years 7 and 8 units on ‘Networks’.

These teaching resources are published under the Open Government License v 3.0

Resources

Computing Systems - Overview

This resource provides a unit overview for the Year 8 ‘Computing systems' unit of work. It gives a clear overview of objectives to be covered within each session and a learning graph to show the range of skills being developed through this...

Lesson 1 - Get In Gear

In this first lesson about computing systems, you will focus on what sets these devices apart from other purpose-built machinery: it is their ability to execute programs that allows them to modify their operation and perform different tasks, and thus become our most versatile ‘tool for thought’. 

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Lesson 2 - Under The Hood

For most humans, reading instructions (and sometimes memorising them), following them one at a time, and keeping track of where they are and what the current state is comes very naturally. We rarely reflect about the details of that process, so it is not surprising that we rarely wonder about the components that...

Lesson 3 - Orchestra Conductor

The previous lesson introduced the main hardware components required to execute programs. This lesson will build on that knowledge and relate it to the computing systems that learners see and use every day. 

The abstract descriptions of how...

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