Pilot - U1L05 - Input and Output

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I used the alternative lessons for Unit 1 in my classes. I have 28 in one and 30 in the other. To give a little context, my classes are electives for 7th/8th graders and we have been doing NXT/EV3 Robotics since September. High performing school, stable families and roughly 12-14% free and reduced lunch.
In the Input and Output lesson, we struggled to stay with lists of devices and not stray into types of information. But the class as a whole would right the ship and remind others of their mistake. To be honest, it wasn’t my best lesson delivery that day and it never seemed to flow really well. There was a bit of struggle to get students engaged, but once they had a couple of items on the list it went better. Interestingly, both classes had a 4-5 teams that failed to list a keyboard for input. The Laptop/Computer and Phone sections went well, but the Connected Devices was tough. They felt like they were listing things that were listed above and weren’t sure why they were doing those items again. Next time I will have them do that section first and then move to the Laptop/Computer and finish with the Phone. I think doing the devices first would spark the thinking and lead to a better list for the other sections. I felt I had to do some “selling the lesson” at the end as many students were asking “What was the point?” of doing this activity. (GT/Dani - Don’t read that as criticism of the lesson but something I am looking for some ideas about for the next time to link it to the bigger picture.) That may also be linked to my classes as we have been doing Robotics for a semester, and so the Problem Solving lessons felt “been there/done that” to them so they may be feeling like things aren’t moving quick enough. In Robotics, we live in the Problem Solving Process. That is what robotics is all about, so they might be the reasoning behind my classes attitude. Would like to hear what others experience.

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@rgutierrez1 thanks for the really detailed comments. It makes sense that “connected devices” might be a little redundant given the order of the activity guide. It really is intended more to prod students to think further on the first row rather than be treated as an entirely separate category. Especially if students have strong backgrounds with hardware I can see how this lesson might not be as eye-opening for a lot of students.

It’s good to hear that the lesson goes pretty well even if the teacher isn’t entirely on their A-game. We’re aware that our lessons can be pretty large in general and we’ve been making efforts to make them simpler to understand and run successfully.

Finally, we want criticism! To your point about making real-world connections we’ll likely be placing a video in this lesson that should help a little bit. Our hope in part was that students’ listing so many devices they use every day would make real world connections to the Input-Output-Store-Process model they’re beginning to explore. If you come up with good ways to make those connections though please share them here with the group.

Thanks again for the detailed feedback.

I am teaching six classes, three seventh grade and three eighth grade. The classes are one hour in length and meet every other day. They have had computer classes every year since first grade, but they have not done any computer science other than “hour of code” type activities. Each student has a computer to use during class.
I started by giving the students the vocabulary and definitions of input and output. I used the prompt as a journal entry, “In the last lesson we learned that a computer is a device that “processes information”. That phrase is still a little vague, so let’s see if we can clarify it a bit. What kinds of “stuff” do you use, look at, create, or edit on a computer that you think might actually be information?” I then had them discuss with a neighbor and share with the class. I don’t think that this prompt is focused on the concept of input and output. In the future, I might leave this prompt out, or simply brainstorm a list of what they do on the computer in general and then try to put their examples in the context of input and output.
Next we worked on the activity guide. I had the students work in groups row by row on the guide. I wrote “input” and “output” on the board and had students come up and write items in the two categories. Then we discussed whether or not we felt they were categorized correctly. I think they had trouble remembering that we were looking for devices. Several students thought headphones were an input device. We discussed how they were similar to speakers which everyone seemed to understand were output devices. I think the discussions were good. I plan to follow up with the journal prompt, “What Inputs and Outputs Do I Use?
Think of three everyday activities you or people you know do with a computer.
What is the input used for that activity? What is the output?”
This fit nicely into a one hour class. I think they have a better idea of input and output devices.


Hi Gretchen! I like the idea of making the warm up prompt more concrete by asking the kids what they’re doing on the computer. It sounds like the lesson was at a good level for the kids and you got some good discussions out of it.

I teach at a high school in SLC, Utah. My class is very diverse in that we have multiple languages in the class, English is not the native language of 95% of my students, I have pretty close to 50/50 boy, girl ratio and the class is a good representation of students from the entire school ranging from grades 9-12. Our class period is 90 minutes every other day.

This lesson was a great extension of what is a computer to - what is an output device, what is an input device and what problems can those devices solve if we want to use the device to do certain things.

We extended the concept to what are input/output devices of other items from our posters U1L4.

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Students evolved from answers that focused only on items that they can see and touch (mouse, keyboard, monitor…) to also include equipment that is not visible (sensors, GPS, gauges…)

I extended the lesson to include not only equipment but also data and information. In particular I extended on the idea of input-output to connect it with domain and range in math functions, and (What we know) vs (What we need to find) in solving word problems