Year 8 – Lesson 1 – Get in gear

Curriculum KS3 Unit Lesson

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’.
To develop an understanding of this unique characteristic, learners will compare calculating machines from the past to modern general-purpose computers. After that, they will connect the important but perhaps abstract idea of a program to the applications that they use every day. Finally, they will execute a program themselves, playing noughts and crosses with a human opponent.
This is a gentle introduction to a broad and technical subject. There is as yet no mention of how programs are represented, or the hardware that is required to execute them in practice. This lesson lays the foundation for introducing these concepts.

Learning objectives

  • Recall that a general-purpose computing system is a device for executing programs
  • Recall that a program is a sequence of instructions that specify operations that are to be performed on data
  • Explain the difference between a general-purpose computing system and a purpose-built device

Package contents

  • Lesson plans
  • Slide decks
  • Learner resources
  • Homework