‘Building’ a PC with Year 5

legomotherboardToday’s ICT lesson with Year 5 was observed by our Deputy Head as part of our Performance Management process. I decided to stick with exactly what I would have taught regardless of inspection even though this meant it was a lesson I had never tried before and was an ICT lesson that didn’t involve the children using the computers.

This was the third in our four-week unit of work titled “What’s In The Box?”. In the first week I had asked the children to draw what they thought was inside a PC case. I asked them to be as creative as possible so we had cars, footballers, ants, butterflies and fairies. Last week I then revealed what was actually in the box by opening the case of an old PC. We talked through all the different components and what they did. We covered…

  • Processor
  • Motherboard
  • System Fan
  • Power Supply
  • Heat Sink
  • Hard Drive
  • Optical Drive
  • RAM Modules

The children were very intrigued and asked lots of good questions about how they worked and we then explored the differences and similarities between desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

This week for the observed lesson I wanted to try and get the children to ‘become’ all of these components. I selected the children at random to become a component so…

  • Sophie was picked first and she became the Power Supply. She was given a three-pin pug to signify that she was the Power Supply and she was told that when she was tapped on the head it meant I had switched the computer on and to show that she had to do star jumps until she was switched off.
  • I have a rug on the floor in the ICT room which I used to represent the motherboard. I then selected another child at random to become the processor. Eleanor was our processor and she was told that when the computer was switched on she would have to jog on the spot to show that she was working.
  • Sophie was tapped on the head. She did her star jumps and Eleanor started jogging on the spot. I then tapped Sophie again and asked Eleanor if she was getting warm. She said yes so I picked another child at random and Ollie became the Heat Sink. Ollie was given a hand fan and asked to keep Eleanor cool when the computer was switched on.
  • We then decided to go Quad Core and so we ended up with three more processors and three more heat sinks.
  • Next we added some RAM to our computer. Poppy and Ed became our RAM modules. Poppy was told to simply start counting when the computer was switched on and Ed had to recite the alphabet. They were told that information stored in the RAM is forgotten when the computer is switched off so they would have to start their counting again the next time the computer was switched on.
  • Georgina became the optical drive and was given a CD and a torch for her laser. She was then told to spin when the computer was turned on.
  • William became our Hard Drive and was given a large encyclopaedia to represent all the data stored on the drive. He was also told he had to spin when the computer was on.
  • Finally Joshua became the System Fan and simply had to turn the desk fan on when the the computer was switched on.

After this the children got into pairs and had to match the picture of each component with its description and name.

I am now just waiting for the feedback about the lesson.

photo credit: kennymatic via photopin cc

3 thoughts on “‘Building’ a PC with Year 5

  1. I wish I could have been there Chris, I would have loved to seen this. However your post is so well written and the explanations easy to follow that I may just have to use it myself.

    Here’s to a lesson well deserving of high praise.

  2. Hi Chris,
    Done a similar thing with my Year 6 before.They loved it. We put all the physical components on a display wall and they comments around it. They also did this with a projector as well after the fan and bulb blew up the week before. My ICT club want to take an old Xbox apart now….

    Great lesson.Hope you get good feedback.

    Andy Evans

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