﻿ Year 8 Computing - Icknield Community College

# Year 8 Computing

Unit Content

Unit 1

Inside the machine

This unit challenges students to look ‘under the hood’ of a computer, learning about input and output devices and the difference between hardware and software. They are taught about specific parts of the computer, starting with the central processing unit and continuing through the computer, focusing on the relationship between data, instructions, memory and storage. Students learn to understand the specifications of a computer, to identify its strengths and weaknesses, and to compare its performance with that of other types of machine. ‘What does the inside of my computer look like?’ is the key question that is addressed in this unit of work.

Key knowledge developed:

• Understanding the components parts of a computer
• Understanding key vocabulary such as 'hardware', 'software', 'CPU', 'RAM' and 'ROM'

Key skills developed:

• How to describe the function of each main component of a computer
• How to evaluate a computer's specification against a task
• How to present information about a computer in a compelling way

Assessment: Students complete an end of topic assessment in the form of a multiple-choice and short-answer quiz in exam conditions.

Unit 2

Algorithms

This unit teaches students the principle of using algorithms to solve problems. Students gain a detailed understanding of the concept of an algorithm and learn to compare the efficacy of using algorithms against that of using heuristics. Students enjoy applying algorithms to problem-solving games, card tricks and real-life map-drawing problems. They encounter advanced content such as bubble and insertion sorts, and linear and binary searches. Students also learn how to use a shortest-path algorithm to get from point A to point B on a map.

Key knowledge developed:

• Understanding algorithms and heuristics
• Understanding how algorithms are used to solve problems

Key skills developed:

• How to apply algorithms to a variety of real-life problems
• How to evaluate the use of algorithms in various contexts
• How to use bubble and insertions sorts
• How to carry out linear and binary searches

Assessment: Students complete an end of topic assessment in the form of a multiple-choice and short-answer quiz in exam conditions.

Units 3 & 4

Representing data and logic

This unit spans Term 3 and 4 and teaches students the concept of binary. How and why do computers use binary? What are the origins of that number system? How is binary converted to and from denary? How it is used in computers to represent our data? How can bits be manipulated using logic gates? How can billions of bits be stored as bytes, kilo-bytes and mega-bytes? Students learn to answers to these key questions in this unit on the representation of data and logic in computers.

Key knowledge developed:

• Understanding how and why computers store numbers, characters, sound and images in binary
• Knowing the mathematical steps followed to convert numbers between denary and binary

Key skills developed:

• How to perform binary addition
• How to describe data sizes using correct vocabulary
• How to explain the use of logic gates to store data

Assessment: Students complete an end of topic assessment in the form of a multiple-choice and short-answer quiz in exam conditions.

Unit 5

Networks and encryption

This unit takes students on a journey through the world of networking and encryption. Students learn the basic structure and hardware of commonly used networks, focusing on both smaller, local networks and larger, wide-area networks such as the internet. They also learn how data is kept safe on networks through the use of encryption. Students learn the basics of shift and substitution ciphers and study how the work of Alan Turing helped bring an end to World War II.

Key knowledge developed:

• Understanding key concepts about networks and encryption
• Knowing the history of shift and substitution ciphers

Key skills developed:

• How to describe the basic structure and hardware of networks
• How to distinguish between local and wide-area networks
• How to describe how data is kept safe through encryption

Assessment: Students complete an end of topic assessment in the form of a multiple-choice and short-answer quiz in exam conditions.

Unit 6

Developing text-based programming

In this final unit of Year 8, students develop their ability to write code in a text-based programming language. This unit builds on the knowledge acquired in the final unit of Year 7. Students revisit and extend their knowledge of various programming constructs through the creation of programs written in Python.

Key knowledge developed:

• Understanding how text-based programming operates
• Understanding the basic processes required to use Python

Key skills developed:

• How to use PRINT and INPUT statements
• How to combine integers and strings in sentences
• How to use IF-ELIF-ELSE statements
• How to use WHILE loops
• How to use FOR loops

Assessment: Students complete an end of topic assessment in the form of a multiple-choice and short-answer quiz in exam conditions.