The Knights Templar School

The Knights Templar School

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How to improve in computing - Year 7

1.1 Label the components of a computer and describe the purpose of two hardware components

What does this mean?
Students should be able to label (name) the hardware components that make up a standard computer. These include:

Input devices – keyboard, mouse, microphone, scanner, touch screen, graphics tablet, camera, etc.

Processing – CPU

Output devices – monitor, speakers, printer, headphones, data projector, etc.

Storage devices – HDD, USB storage, CD, DVD, etc.

They should also be able to describe the purpose of at least 2 of these hardware components, e.g. The purpose of a mouse is to navigate across the screen, select programs, menu items, etc.

 

1.2 Describe the purpose of the major hardware components (CPU, RAM, HDD)of a computer

What does this mean?
Students should be able to describe the purpose of the Central Processing Unit (CPU), Random Access Memory (RAM) and Hard Disk Drive (HDD). It is crucial for their understanding of how a computer works and later on in KS4 and KS5 how programming utilises these components in executing instructions. At a higher level they should also know the differences between RAM and HDD with regards to storing data e.g. data stored on RAM is temporary and data stored on a HDD is permanent. They should also understand the Fetch, Decode, Execute cycle of the CPU.

 

1.3 Explain how the major hardware components (CPU, RAM, HDD) of a computer system work together

What does this mean?
The students should understand how the CPU, RAM and HDD work in unison when a computer is being used. They should know the purpose of each of these components in order to explain how they work together. For instance, a CPU processes data and instructions using the fetch, decode, execute cycle; the RAM stores open programs and files temporarily; and the HDD is used to store information permanently. E.g. When a user opens a word processing program, the CPU will look in the RAM to find the program and if it is not there, it will look on the HDD and open the program and store it temporarily in the RAM. As the user is typing in the word processor and clicking on various icons to format and create data in the document, etc. the CPU will continually fetch, decode and execute the instructions for those actions. When the user decides to save the document, an instruction will be executed by the CPU to store the document in the HDD permanently, even after the program is closed or the computer is switched off. Once the computer is switched off, the data stored in the RAM will be wiped clean.

 

2.1 Name some aspects of computational thinking and describe how that helps to solve everyday problems

What does this mean?
The students must be able to name some of the aspects of computational thinking. The main aspects are Identify the problem; Decomposition, Data collection, Pattern identification; Abstraction and Algorithm. E.g. they should know that Decomposition means breaker down a problem into smaller, more manageable problems, which could be easier to solve, etc. In the same way they should know the meaning of some of the other aspects and how to use them to solve an everyday problem e.g. making a cup of coffee:

Identify the problem: Making a cup of coffee

Decomposition: boil water in a kettle; add ingredients to a cup; have milk, spoon, etc., ready

Data collection: Get all the items; water, kettle, milk, sugar, coffee, spoon, cup, work surface, etc.

Algorithm: Now the algorithm can be composed. The step by step instructions of how to make coffee are now written down in order.

 

2.2 Describe the aspects of computational thinking and explain how it helps to solve everyday problems

What does this mean?
The main aspects are Identify the problem; Decomposition, Data collection, Pattern identification; Abstraction and Algorithm. The students should know these and how to use them to solve everyday problems they may encounter. E.g. they should know that Decomposition means breaker down a problem into smaller, more manageable problems, which could be easier to solve, etc. In the same way they should know the meaning of the other aspects as well and how to use them to solve an everyday problem e.g. making a cup of coffee:

Identify the problem: Making a cup of coffee

Decomposition: boil water in a kettle; add ingredients to a cup; have milk, spoon, etc., ready

Data collection: Get all the items; water, kettle, milk, sugar, coffee, spoon, cup, work surface, etc.

Pattern identification: water needs to be boiled before adding it to the cup, milk, sugar may or may not be needed for the process, ingredients could be added to the cup before, during or after the water has boiled. The same process can be followed if many cups of coffee needs to be made.

Abstraction: Only the items mentioned are needed from the storage areas, no need to take out the tea, hot chocolate or any other hot beverage items.

Algorithm: Now the algorithm can be composed. The step by step instructions of how to make coffee are now written down in order.

 

2.3 Use computational thinking to write effective algorithms to solve everyday problems

What does this mean?
The students should be able to apply their knowledge of the different aspects of computational thinking (as seen above) and use it to solve everyday problems. Most, if not all solvable problems, can be solved using these aspects in order. It should be the norm for students to use these methods to solve ‘any’ problem in Computing or even other subjects. The main focus is that they should be able to write an effective algorithm (step by step instructions to solve a problem) for a given problem. E.g. brushing their teeth, making a sandwich, taking the train, feeding the cat, emergency evacuation, programming in Scratch or Python, etc.

 

3.1 Describe how to input values into Scratch, where inputs are stored and how a program makes decisions

What does this mean?
Students should understand that they can write programs that interact with the user, e.g. the program may ask the user to enter information like their name or age, etc. They should be able to use Scratch programming to achieve this goal. They should further understand that the information received by the program should be stored somewhere for later use when the program has to make a decision of some kind e.g. asking the user for their age to determine if they are old enough for a specific electronic game or something to that effect. Scratch has the ‘ASK’ script that asks the user to enter (input) information into Scratch. The information is stored in a variable called “answer” and this could be used later in the program to make decisions. Students should be familiar with describing this process and how to apply it in their general programming in Scratch.

 

3.2 Describe how a program uses more than one variable and explain how operators work to make decisions

What does this mean?
Students should understand that programs store data in variables, so that the program can use the data later in the program when needed, e.g. the accumulation of the total score in a game. By default Scratch has a built in variable called ‘answer’ that can only store one value. In Scratch, students also have the ability to create their own custom variables (as many as they need) to help them solve problems e.g. if they write a program that asks the user for 2 inputs that should be added together. They should further understand that they can apply mathematical equations with the variables to make decisions with the use of mathematical operators such as +, -, x, ÷, <, >, =, etc. E.g. to compare two values and see whether one is larger than the other, they could use the ‘>’ operator with the two variables. The students should also understand that decision making in Scratch is usually programmed using the If statement to determine whether or not a condition is True or False and then execute code relevant to the decision needed. Once they understand these concepts, they should be able to describe them.

 

3.3 Use examples to explain how to write flowcharts (inputs, outputs, storing, processing, selection)

What does this mean?
Having learnt the basic programming skills in Scratch, the students should also know the flowchart symbols to create flowcharts. Flowcharts are used to plan their code (algorithms). The symbols are used for inputs, outputs, storing, processing and selection. With these symbols the student should be able to ‘plan’ and write simple example programs. Later in KS4 and KS5, using flowcharts becomes an essential skill to plan and execute their programs. The students must be able to use flowcharts to explain their programs will work.

 

4.1 Use HTML tags more effectively to create webpages with a range of formatting skills

What does this mean?
In Y7 we introduce the students to Hyper Text Mark-Up Language (HTML). This is another programming language they will learn to use specifically to create web pages for websites. Once they know all the basic HTML tags to create a web page, format text and insert images and hyperlinks, etc., they will be expected to create basic web pages to a given brief. They should be able to use a wide variety of the HTML tags effectively to create these web pages so that their skills are displayed in the web pages. This includes a web page title, heading, sub-headings, background colour, font that is formatted using size, colour, bold, italics, underline, alignment, etc. where appropriate. E.g. to change the font size of a piece of text to size 5, they should know how to use the following format for the ‘font’ tag:

The piece of text.

The piece of text.

 

4.2 Describe the purpose of various HTML tags and create webpages using formatted text in various ways

What does this mean?
Once the students are effective with the above-mentioned, they should learn the purpose for each of the HTML tags that they’ve mastered. This means that they should be able to describe the purpose for each of the HTML tags learnt as well as create high quality web pages with little or no support from their teacher. E.g. to change the font size of a piece of text to size 5, set the colour to blue and make one word in the text bold and another italics, they should be able to describe and know how to use the ‘font’ tag in combination with other tags:

The piece of text.

The piece of text.

 

4.3 Explain the key terms/HTML tags accurately and create multiple linked webpages that include images

What does this mean?
Once the students are proficient with the two points above, they should be able to explain all of the HTML accurately, including key terminologies, HTML tags and the purposes of the HTML tags. This will ensure that they are well versed in HTML for the Y7 and should be well prepared for their end of unit test. As an addition to the previous two point above, they should be able to use hyperlinks to link multiple pages, including linking hyperlinks to images, so when the user clicks on an image it takes them to another page.