U1 Day 3-4: PD Discussion Topic


How do you plan to introduce students to the hardware components in computers? Share one creative idea with the other teachers.

If you have any other thoughts or questions about this lesson, feel free to post those in the forum as well!


I would have students in my collaborative groups of 2-4 students identify what they individually would like for a computer to do for them, to determine if any of these attributes are on any computer type type item that they have, and how other computer hardware might provide them with what they have identified as a technology based need.


Students will explore and research on their own, and share with/present to one another so that the information they find is constantly relevant and memorable.


I plan to open up a computer and take it apart while students research the different parts in teams of 4. I’ll also have additional hardware available for them to look at and hold. I think it would benefit the students to be able to physically interact with the different parts and understand how to put a computer together.


I plan to have students to come up with a list of things they want their computer to do for them and then I want them to research different types of computers. I think just briefly explaining and defining some terms before they research would be very beneficial to them because some of the terminology may be a bit advanced for them.


I would have them jigsaw the article we were provided. Afterwards, they would present their component and where it is found to the whole class.


My IT Department is swapping out old desktops and lap tops this summers. they will be pulling some older units for us to dissect. We will do that with the help of the illustrations and descriptions from http://www.carnegiecyberacademy.com/facultyPages/computer/computers.html , http://computer.howstuffworks.com/1290-dissecting-a-pc-video.htm , http://computer.howstuffworks.com/23-computer-tour-video.htm and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSWU1Npv1dk

After all the major items have been identified, I plan to have student grouping of three or less ‘own’ a part to describe to the class as they ID the dissected part in the computer that was “dissected”, 'jigsaw fashion.


As a science teacher, modeling and making analogies has proved to be helpful to students. I would have students create models and analogies for the different hardware components of the computer.

The following is an example of what I might be expecting:

A computer is like a kitchen at a restaurant.
The computer’s processor is like a chef, who works to prepare the food. The faster the chef, the faster food is ready. A dual-core processor is like having a kitchen with two chefs, so two things can be prepared at the same time.
The computer’s RAM is like counter-top space. Everything in RAM is easy for the processor to get at, so if you have a lot of counter space, the chef can work on preparing more things at once. If you don’t have enough counter space, the chef can’t work on as many things. Some programs use a lot of RAM, just like some recipes call for a lot of ingredients, so it is harder to fit more stuff on the counter.
The computer’s hard drive is like the cupboards and refrigerator. These things hold the ingredients until the chef needs them. If space runs out, then the old ingredients need to be thrown out to make room for new ones.
You, the computer user, are then the customer who is ordering things from the kitchen. If the chef is slow, or their isn’t enough counter-top space, it’s going to longer for things to get done, especially if you are ordering a lot of things at once.


I’d like to get my hands on a computer I can dissect to show students the parts. Even better if I can get several computers so that the students can do this in groups.
After the dissection, the students will jigsaw the article from Carnegie Cyber Academy and present “their” component to the class so that they become experts on one component but still get exposure to all the other parts.


Hi J. Kim

This is Jessie from Code.org.

That’s a great analogy!! I could see my own students finding it very useful! We are always looking for new resources and ideas to feature in our PD here at Code.org. Would you mind if I throw your computer->kitchen analogy on the list of ideas to integrate into next year’s PD?



Absolutely, the kitchen analogy is actually not my own so please go ahead and use it for future PDs. Teachers and students should also be encouraged to craft analogies of their own for the sake of relevance.


I would show a video of two types of platforms that students might decide between when purchasing a computer. In most cases, a student would either purchase a Windows based platform, or an Apple based platform. I might utilize Microsoft’s Website in which they detail purchasing a Surface Laptop, and then utilize Apple’s Website in which they detail purchasing a MacBook. I would have the student compare notes within their group of 2-4 students by having them compare and contrast the likeness and difference between the two laptops. I would have the group decide on which computer the group would purchase and ask for an explanation for how they came to their decision


I like the other ideas shared here. I would start off with by passing around a computer part, show the video clip from How Stuff Works that explains the function of that part, and then pause the video to move on to the next part. Next I would randomly assign groups of two a computer part and have them use the Internet to research and find 5 things they need to know about this part when making a purchasing decision. I would have an empty computer case that the students would then install their part into. The students would post their 5 facts to a shared Google docs presentation. The following day each group would present their recommendations and demonstrate how to install their part. Parts that I would include are motherboard, CPU, PSU, GPU, RAM, hard drive. If I have a large group of students, I would add more parts rather than having groups repeat.


I will open the lesson with a short TED Ed film that addresses some of the components of a computer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkFi90lZmXA
To direct students learning they will need to answer the questions:

  1. What is the brain of the computer?
  2. Where are programs/instructions stored?
  3. Give an example of a peripheral.
    The video does not cover a majority of the hardware components in a computer, but I hope that it gives some exposure and serves as a hook for students to continue their research involved in the lesson.

I will also provide a computer that I will open so that students can view the inside as they complete their research for this project.


Students love to get their hands on the insides of a computer. They are familar with what is on the outside (minotor, mouse, etc.) but find it facinating when you start looking inside.


I would use a combination of how stuff works video and computer components to show the class what each of them are for and what they do.


I like to show the class the inside of an actual computer first. We discuss the different components. After that, I like to have my students draw (either by hand or create a digital creation) of the inside of a computer and label the parts. They need to be able to explain to me the purpose of each part.


I would like to use an actual computer so students can see the different parts for themselves rather than just pictures.


I have an old computer in the basement just for this purpose - we will take it apart and look.

I will also ask students to determine their current computer needs and projected needs for the next 4 years. After configuring a computer, we will price a computer based on the internet sources and flyers from the newspaper.


I have an old tower that I will take apart and show the internals of the PC. Will have students then google pictures of the different H/W components and have them share with class in a non-formal presentation…