Lesson Summary

Summary: This optional lesson can be used as a brief preview to the course on the first day of class when teachers typically have many classroom administrative tasks to accomplish, but teachers also want to set the stage for the class. Students begin thinking about the influences of technology as they engage in a Think-Pair-Share strategy about the computing innovations that have impacted their lives. In addition, this is an opportunity to set beginning expectations about interacting with classmates in collaborative activities and to model writing in the content area.


  • Students will provide examples of how technology makes a difference in their lives.
  • Students will describe both the positive and negative impacts of the computing innovation that has had the most impact on their life.


  1. Getting Started (5 min) - Journal Activity
  2. Guided Activities (40 min) - Students Think-Pair-Share and engage in independent writing
  3. Wrap Up (5min) Summary and Homework Assignment

Source: This lesson is adapted from Code.org (Unit 1 Lesson 00)

Learning Objectives

CSP Objective

Common Core ELA:

  • WHST 12.1 - Write arguments on discipline specific content

Key Concepts

Innovation is an important theme of this course. Students will become more aware of how innovation in technology has affected their lives.

Essential Questions

  • How does computing enhance human communication, interaction, and cognition?
  • How does computing enable innovation?

Teacher Resources

Student computer usage for this lesson is: none

Student journals, if they are ready. Otherwise, paper for students to write on.

Lesson Plan

Getting Started (5 min) 

This short activity can be used after any required first-day administrative duties.

Introducing Journals and "Think-Pair-Share" (5 min)

Each lesson in the course will start out with a brief prompt for students to respond to in their journals. They will pair off to discuss their answers, then share their findings with the class.

If you have the journals ready, have students write the answer to this prompt in the journal: Identify technological innovations that you and/or your families use. (At LEAST four, how many can you name?)

If Clarification is Needed:

Guided Activities (40 min)

Activity - Think-Pair-Share (20 min)

  1. Have students share journal ideas in pairs. Each student should circle the four most interesting ideas in their journal. 
  2. Have pairs combine into groups of 4-6 and write 4-6 unique, interesting ideas from their group on post-it notes or paper.
  3. Display student ideas at the front of the room on a board or poster using pen, chalk or post-its.
    (Suggestion: Take turns letting each group contribute one thing at a time and explain how it's used in their lives. Either disallow duplicates or notice how many groups choose the same things.)
  4. Challenge students as a group to think of at least 10 more things that are not on the list and add them.

Activity - Independent Activity (20 min)

  1. Tell students to complete this sentence: "The computing innovation that has had the most impact on my life is .... because ....". 
  2. Write the completed sentence and describe both the positive and negative impacts of the innovation in a short paragraph in your journal.
  3. Allow students a few minutes to independently and silently think and write.
  4. If there is time, join each student pair with another pair for a second round of sharing and discussion.
  5. Suggestion: A large-group class discussion can replace the second pair-share portion of the activity if it is more appropriate for the class setting or the time available.

Note: Written communication is an important skill. This curriculum provides a variety of opportunities for students to develop the skills that they will need to perform well in the Performance Tasks.  

Wrap-Up (5 min)

Summarize the various ways that computing innovation has affected our lives. Assign the following homework.


Ask students to interview an adult and ask, "What computing innovation has had the most impact on your life? In what ways has your life been affected?"

Students will record the adult’s answer and compare and contrast the answer with their own original answer in a brief paragraph.

Options for Differentiated Instruction

Optional Extension:

Suggest that students create timelines showing the years when the various innovations were invented or became available to consumers. (They could make their best guesses as a class and reorder the ideas on the board.)

Evidence of Learning

Summative Assessment

Paragraph about the positive and negative impacts of the innovation that has had the most impact on the student's life in journal at the end of class.

Paragraph for homework that compares and contrasts an adult's answer to their own journal entry answer after conducting a discussion with an adult at home.

Lesson Summary


Through presentations, videos and discussion, students discover how technology has been changing and brainstorm ideas for how the next generation will have a different relationship with technology than the current generation. Students will also learn the relative measures of computer storage (KB, MB, etc.)

This is a prelude to the idea of big data and the impact of technology.


  • Students describe some of the ways that technology has been changing
  • Students brainstorm ideas for how the next generation will have a different relationship with technology than the current generation
  • Students compare the relative measures of computer storage 


1. Introduction (5 min) - Students journal about the different relationships each generation has with technology.

2. Activities (40 min) - Students practice organizing by relative size and create posters to demonstrate learning.

3. Wrap-up (5 min) - Posters are shared with the class.

Learning Objectives

CSP Objective

Essential Questions

  • How can computing and the use of computational tools foster creative expression?
  • How can computing extend traditional forms of human expression and experience?
  • How does computing enhance human communication, interaction, and cognition?
  • How does computing enable innovation?

Teacher Resources

Student computer usage for this lesson is: none


PowerPoints (in the Lesson Resources folder):

  1. Unit0_Lesson2_The Information Age How Big.pptx
  2. Unit0_lesson2_TheFuture.ppt

Students should have paper for taking notes. (If desired, use preprinted Information Age Notes, in the Lesson Resources folder)

Print out "Relative Measure Word Strips to cut" papers and "Measure Quantity Word Strips to cut" papers (in the Lesson Resources folder) and cut them into strips to give to students for the activity.

8 big sheets of big poster paper to place at the front of the room labeled:

  1. communication
  2. education
  3. automation (robotics)
  4. privacy 
  5. entertainment
  6. transportation
  7. medicine & health
  8. the Internet

Post-it notes for students

Lesson Plan

Introduction - Journal and Discussion (5 min)

1. Journal: How were computers and technology different one generation ago?

2. Pair and share journal ideas, compile a class list. (Ideas you might suggest if they’re stuck: bigger, slower, less storage, less portable, not inside of so many other things, not as pervasive, less voice ability, less connection to the Internet, phones weren't very smart, more expensive, Previous generation: land lines, stand in one place when talking on the phone, separate cameras, internet via phone modem, no GPS, etc.)

3. Prompt students to come up with their own definition of what "1 generation ago" means. (Now a generation is considered to be about 25 years. A century ago it was about 20 years - from Ancestry.com)
{optional question for thought/discussion: Why were generations shorter a hundred years ago? ( don't tell them the answer, try to lead them to ask each other good questions to guide them to an answer: shorter lifespans, more death from disease, younger marriage age http://www.ancestry.com/cs/Satellite?childpagename=UKLearningCenter%2FLearning_C%2FPageDefault&pagename=LearningWrapper&cid=1265124426382 )}

Activities: (40 min)

Part 1 (3-4 min)

Hand out mixed up relative measure papers (a document with strips to cut is in the Lesson Resources folder) to 8 students.

  • In order: kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte, petabyte, exabyte, zettabyte, and yottabyte.

Ask them to try to line up by relative size at the front of the room to display the terms from smallest to largest. Ask if the class agrees, make changes by group vote. Don’t tell them if they're right yet. Tape or post the strips to the front wall. 

Teacher Note: Be sure to get students' names and introduce them as part of the goal of developing a classroom community of learners. Continuously encourage positive social interactions. 

Part 2 (3-4 min)

Hand out the 8 papers with measured quantities (a document with strips to cut is in the Lesson Resources folder).

  • In order: a picture the size of your fingernail, a small novel, a symphony recorded in high fidelity sound, the whole library of congress, 5 years' worth of the data recorded by NASA earth orbit satellite, all the words ever spoken by humankind written down, all recorded TV broadcasts and movies stored as video, and amount of data the National Security Administration can store.

Ask those students to try to match themselves up with the relative measure papers. Give the class a chance to rearrange by group vote. Tape or post the strips to their relative measure paper. 

Part 3 (10 min)

  1. Present the PowerPoint: Unit0_Lesson2 The Information Age. How Big. 
    • Have students take notes on the correct sequence of relative measures. (Use blank paper or Student notes for The Information Age How Big) Rearrange paper strips at the front of the room as needed to match the true order. (5 min)
  2. Show the video: The information age. Big Data is Changing the World (3:51)
  3. Have groups try to guess how many people used the Internet each day in 2000 and now, how many searches were done each day on Google in 1998 and now. (3 min)
  4. Show the video: 2:31 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGYmML0e0X4 Exalogic: Ready for the Future by Oracle (only show the first 1:14)

Part 4 (20 min)

  1. Present the PowerPoint Unit0_Lesson2 The Future. 
  2. Group students in 3's or 4's. (max of 8 groups)
    • Groups brainstorm: What new technology might the next generation have?
      • Ask them to think of how technology will be different for the next generation in each of these categories: communication, education, automation (robotics), transportation, medicine and health, the Internet, privacy, and entertainment. Write at least 10 ideas for each group on post it notes, 1 idea per post it. (5 min)
      • Note: 1 generation is about 25 years, so the previous generation was born around 1975 and went to high school around 1990. You were born around 2000, and are in high school now. The next generation will be born around 2025, and be in high school around 2040. 
  3. Place large posters at the front of the room. Take turns having groups contribute 1 post it note at a time and explain their ideas. (5 min)
    • Groups get 1 point for each unique idea that gets posted.
    • The group with the most points, when all notes have been posted, chooses the poster they want to work on. The group with the 2nd highest score chooses next, etc.
  4. Groups design a visual artifact on their poster: a labeled drawing, concept map, cartoon (stick figures are fine), or some other visual to describe life for the next generation. Encourage students to do something visually appealing, creative, interesting, or informative. ( 10 min ) 

Wrap-Up (5 min)

Display the posters created by the class, share details and ideas from the posters.

Additional Activities if Time Permits:

  1. Show a video on a possible work world of the future: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yWzKvQXsYM (5:51)
  2. Discuss what ideas are the same/different from the ideas that students shared.
  3. Have a vote on the posters for most creative, most unique, best detail, etc.

Options for Differentiated Instruction

Instead of having students move to the front of the room to sort the paper strips into order, you could print a set for each group of 3-4 students and have them match and arrange them at their desks.

If students have a strong interest, or if you have extra time, use the ideas in "Extensions to the lesson on the Future of Technology" document located in the resources folder.

Evidence of Learning

Formative Assessment

Self-checking exercise on identifying storage terms (KB, MB, etc.)

Lesson Summary

Summary: This lesson is a basic introduction to algorithms and the nature of intelligence. Students will play tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses is the British version) between a “highly intelligent piece of paper” and a human. Students will explore how to create an algorithm and the concept of computer intelligence.


  • Students will play tic-tac-toe using a specific algorithm.
  • Students will create and test a new algorithm for playing tic-tac-toe.


  1. Getting Started (5 min) - Journal
  2. Introduction (5 min) - PowerPoint
  3. Guided Activities (35 min) - Students play tic-tac-toe with a given algorithm, then practice designing and implementing their own.
  4. Wrap-up (5 min) - Students create definitions and assign homework for Lesson 1-1
  5. Optional Activity (5 min) - Students examine an actual "AI" (simple game playing program) created for tic-tac-toe in Python

Source: This lesson is adapted from a lesson created by Paul Curzon, Queen Mary, University of London.

Learning Objectives

CSP Objective

Common Core ELA:

  • WHST 12.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes

NGSS Practices:

  • 8. Obtaining, evaluation, and communicating information

Essential Questions

  • How do computer programs implement algorithms?
  • How does computing enhance human communication, interaction, and cognition?

Teacher Resources

Student computer usage for this lesson is: none

A PowerPoint for this lesson is included in the Lesson Resources folder - IntelligentPaper.pptx and IntelligentPaper.pdf

Copies for student pairs of "intelligent paper directions" with tic-tac-toe directions on one side, and blank on the other - in the Lesson Resources folder - IntelligentPaperDirections.pdf

The wrap-up questions are available in the Lesson Resources folder as Questions To Consider.docx

Optional: a musical greeting card, a paper folded into a fortune teller (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_fortune_teller), a page of equations

The Python program for the optional activity is located in the Lesson Resources Folder - TicTacToeAI.py

Lesson Plan

Getting Started (5 min) - Journal

What could make a piece of paper intelligent? (Think-Pair-Share)

Introduction of Content (5 min)

(Use IntelligentPaper.pptx in the Lesson Resources folder to help deliver this lesson.)

Challenge the students by saying that you have a piece of paper that is at least as smart as any human. (Show the blank side of the paper, don't tell the students yet, but it has directions on how to play tic-tac-toe on the back.) Ask if anybody believes that this is possible.

Show students examples of "smart papers," such as:

  • A page full of equations
  • A paper folded into a fortune teller http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_fortune_teller 
  • A greeting card that plays music when you open it. It's made of paper, is it intelligent? (it's the chip inside that's smart, and somebody had to program it to make it do something... same with any paper, a person needs to put the information on there to "give" it intelligence) 

Encourage discussion and debate, prod students to argue their point for or against intelligence, and get them to develop their own criteria and definition for intelligence. Write the class definition and criteria on the board.

Guided Activities (35 min)

Part 1 - Game Activity (5 min)

Tell the class that the paper has never lost a game: it has perfect intelligence.

Challenge students to play a game against the paper. The paper is peripherally challenged (it has no arms, and thus needs somebody to do its work for it). One person represents humankind, while the other person represents the paper. Play tic-tac-toe with a partner. The paper must begin the game.

Possible outcomes:

  • Paper wins or draws.
  • Humans give up. (They often do.)
  • Try again and see if it’s just luck?
  • Humans cheat. (They sometimes do.)
  • Humans cause an error. (It happens.)

But, the paper WILL NOT LOSE.

Try letting humankind go first. (Wait and try it: The paper will lose. Why?)

Part 2 - Independent Activity (15 min)

Challenge students to write out detailed directions (an algorithm) that will never lose the game whether it goes first or second.

Part 3 - Game Activity with Student Algorithms (15 min)

Students should use their new algorithm to play against each other. Follow the same model for the paper versus the human game.

Discuss how testing is essential in order to figure out whether the algorithm works for every possible game.

Additional Possible Activities and Discussions with Time Permitting:

  • There are lots of websites that show all of the possible moves in tic-tac-toe.
  • If there is time, have students try to figure out how many different, unique games can possibly be played in tic-tac-toe.
  • Point out, after they give it a good try, that using symmetry cuts out a lot of redundant possible moves.
  • This can also lead to an investigation of how machine learning happens in artificial intelligence by looking at all possible moves and making decisions.
  • How many possible tic-tac-toe games are there? How can you represent all the possibilities?
  • Have students share how they diagrammed or kept track of how many different possible games there are
  • You can show them some ideas if you just do an image search for tic-tac-toe:
  • What about 3D tic-tac-toe? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-D_Tic-Tac-Toe  

Wrap-up (5 min)

Have students write their own definitions for the four words at the end of the presentation:

  • Computer program
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Peripheral
  • Algorithm

Optional Activity (5 min)

(Use PyCharm or some other Python environment to show the TicTacToeAI.py program from the Lesson Resources folder.)

  • Follow slides 14-16 of the PowerPoint to review the Python "AI" written for TicTacToe. Encourage discussion on how a computer can "think" in order to win the game. 
  • Play a few rounds against the program and see whether a student can figure out how to beat it.
  • Discuss how the program could have been better designed. 


Assign homework for Lesson 1-1: Provide students a copy of the “Questions to Consider” in the resources folder and assign the reading:

Blown to Bits – Chapter 1, can be found here http://www.bitsbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/chapter1.pdf and is available in the lesson resources folder for Unit 0 Lesson 3.


Options for Differentiated Instruction

Extension: If you have extra time, have a championship contest between one set of student-generated instructions and another, alternating who goes 1st and 2nd. You can work in groups of three, with one person acting as the judge if desired.

Evidence of Learning

Formative Assessment

Vocabulary entries in journals from the end of the PowerPoint presentation

Group participation in interactive activity

Writeup about a more general solution