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Computer science

subject overview

A high-quality computing education equips learners to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which learners are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, learners are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that learners become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

unit overview - living in a digital world

Subject: Living in a Digital World

Skills

Students are able to articulate expectations of appropriate online behaviour.

Students are able to describe how to operate and interact safely online.  This includes:

  • Distinguishing between appropriate and inappropriate online behaviour
  • Describing their own online responsibilities and how to behave in an appropriate way
  • online
  • Describing how to report concerns or issues as they arise

Knowledge

Understand a range of ways to use technology responsibly, safely and securely

Knowing how to report online concerns

Recognizing inappropriate content and contact

Understanding a range of ways to use technology respectfully

Recognizing acceptable and unacceptable online behaviour

Rationale

Given the clear dangers arising from participation in social networks, this unit addresses the various types of threats that exist online.  Every young person must be able to use the internet safely and securely, with an understanding of the issues and threats that exist.  This means understanding the expectations of their own behaviour and how to act appropriately in various online scenarios and on common media.  Furthermore, should participation in social networks give rise to any concerns, students should be aware of how to report it.

 

 

 

                                                                                                               

 

unit overview - scratch games

Subject: Scratch Games.

Skills

To be able to create games (in Scratch), which allow:

  • the player to move a sprite around the screen
  • the player to control the sprite to respond to other characters in a game
  • the player to control the appearance/disappearance of a sprite using mouse controls
  • during gameplay
  • the game to respond to character input in the game

To be able to create games which respond to keyboard and mouse input events

To be able to develop menus which provide access to game features

To be able to design and construct games featuring multiple platform levels

To be able to analyse a game and give constructive feedback

To be able to develop their technical terminology to annotate their work

Knowledge

Understand how to develop code and illustrations using Scratch development environment

Understand how to create characters in the IDE

Understand how to animate characters in a game

Understand how to detect and respond to input events in a game

Understand how to detect and respond to contact with other actors in a game

Understand how to create keyboard input to a game

Understand how to design and develop menus for games

Understand how to design and develop multiple game levels

Rationale

An excellent pathway into text-based programming is creating games using Scratch software.  Although it features coloured blocks to drag and drop, it much reduces the possibility of the syntax errors which deter the progress of so many young people when they learn programming.  Moreover, it highlights what is important – ready access to the programming constructs; sequence, selection and iteration. 

In this unit, students learn programming techniques in Scratch and create games featuring animation, event handling and character interactions.  By considering and improving their designs, they come to create increasingly complex gameplay and game code.  By responding to constructive comments about their games, they engage in iterative development. By annotating their games and justifying their code design decisions, they become more mindful of the decisions that programmers make.

 

                                                                                                               

unit overview - python for absolute beginners

Subject: Python for Absolute Beginners

Skills

Students are able to create computer programmes (in Python), which:

  • Instantiate and manipulate variables
  • Use various data types (String, Integer, Float, Boolean)
  • Interact with the user using input and output
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating sequence
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating control/selection structures
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating iterative structures
  • Make use of various mathematical operators as appropriate

Students are able to develop programmes for specific problems

Students understand and are able to apply the concepts of decomposition, abstraction

and simplification

Students are able to debug and correct problems in their code

Students are able to annotate their code using appropriate terminology and technical

language

Knowledge

Know how to implement programmes in the Python development environment

Know the basic syntax of Python

Understand the need for variables in digital systems

Understand the different data types i.e. string and integer data types

Understand how sequence, selection and iteration are implemented in Python

Understand how to prompt the user for data and assign it to a variable

Understand how to output data to the screen for user interaction

Know how to utilise the mathematical operators needed for numerical calculations

Know how produce algorithmic solutions for specific problems

Understand the importance of ‘commenting’ code and documentation

Rationale

This unit introduces the students to the fundamentals of writing computer programmes using the Python programming language.   The key principles of how to write algorithms using the concepts of abstraction, decomposition and simplification are introduced and refined.

By the end of the unit, the students will be able to create their own solutions to simple problems. They will also be able to debug, annotate and document their code to explain their design decisions and justify their solutions

 

 

 

                                                                                                               

unit overview - how computers work

Subject: How Computers Work

Skills

Be able to explain what is meant by a computer with reference to its inputs, processes and

outputs

Be able to discuss the role of various peripheral input and output devices in a computer

system

Be able to explain the hardware elements of a modern computer, including:

  • the role of the CPU, RAM and hard drive
  • how the CPU, RAM and hard drive work together

Be able to describe how performance is measured, and justify hardware choices for better

computer performance

Knowledge

Understand what a computer is, and be able to define and differentiate between computer

and non-computer systems

Know how modern computers have developed over time

Understand the key features of hardware and software

Understand the role of peripherals in a computer system

Understand the various hardware elements in a computer system and be able to describe

their functions

Explain how hardware choices can impact the performance of a computer

Rationale

As technology evolves, conceptions of what is meant by the term ‘computer’ have moved

beyond standard notions such as PCs and laptops.  Devices which were never considered

to be computers have now converged into being classified as computers – this includes

watches, mobile phones, washing machines, cars, cameras, and so on.  By the end of this

unit, students will have a sharper understanding of how computers are defined, and be

able to state with authority what is and is not a computer.

Students will also be able to classify and explain the purpose all the key components in a computer system, and how each one facilitates input, output or storage.  Being able to

hold informed dialogue such as this will enable students to see computers for what they

are, and contribute to new notions of what else can become one.

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

unit overview - bbc microbit

Subject: BBC Microbit

Skills

To be able to code simple programs on the micro:bit which use events, inputs and outputs

To be able to create simple games using the BBC micro:bit features (compass, LED, accelerometer)

To explain how the BBC micro:bit is an implementation of hardware elements which handle inputs, outputs and some key internal hardware components

To be able to create simple programs for the BBC micro:bit which:

  • Instantiate and manipulate variables
  • Use various data types (String, Integer, Float, Boolean)
  • Interact with the user using input and output
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating sequence
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating control/selection structures
  • Construct algorithms demonstrating iterative structures
  • Make use of various mathematical operators as appropriate
  • Make use of the key elements of the BBC Micro-bit including:
    • Accelerometer
    • Compass
    • LEDs

To be able to apply the concepts of; decomposition, abstraction and simplification in simple programs

To be able to debug and correct problems in their code

To be able to annotate code using appropriate terminology

Knowledge

Know how to implement simple programs for the BBC micro:bit

Understand how to simulate and flash programs onto the  micro:bit

Know how to create games for the Micro-bit utilising various hardware elements:

  • Accelerometer
  • Compass
  • LEDs

Understand the importance of code annotation and documentation

Rationale

The BBC Micro-bit is a hardware system which implements the key features of modern computer, with additional capabilities such as an accelerometer, compass and LED displays.  This unit brings together the programming skills and the hardware knowledge from the previous units to reinforce previous learning on this hand-held device.

Although the programs that students write on the micro:bit are short, the output is on LEDs that light up in their hands, on a tiny device which they can touch, turn over, and examine closely. We believe that this kinaesthetic element to the micro:bit brings home some of the key features of programming (and computer hardware) in a more motivating way that purely seeing outputs on screen.  Computers are a huge part of the ‘maker society’ and bringing program outputs off the monitor and into a strange piece of hardware might underline how programming is not something that belongs purely on screen, but can also bring life to objects too.                                                                                                              

unit overview - digital fakery

Subject: Digital Fakery (Photoshop)

Skills

To be able to critically analyse images to identify manipulation using modern imagery software

To be able to explain when it is ethically acceptable to modify images and when acceptability boundaries are blurred

To be able to use Photoshop to create and manipulate and manipulate images:

  • selection tool
  • how layers are used to build the image
  • use the selection tool & its functions
  • use the scissors and masking tools to modify an image

To be able to apply these skills to create their own poster

Knowledge

To understand the term ‘Doctored image’; to identify & justify doctored images

To explain how a given image has been doctored

To know how to use the Photoshop selection tool

To understand the use of layers in an image

To know how to use the ‘Scissors select’ tool

To know how to duplicate components of an image

To use image masks to modify images

To know how to clone & airbrush parts of images

To apply the above-mentioned techniques to create a movie poster; to explain & justify the tools and techniques used

Rationale

Image modification is becoming increasingly common throughout advertising and on social media.  By the end of this unit, students will be able to critically assess images, to identify possible manipulations and qualify the acceptability of such manipulation dependent upon a given scenario.

Students will be able to use Photoshop image manipulation tools to create and modify their own images.  They will learn these foundation skills to in a creative task where they design a unique, high-quality image of their own

knowledge OrganiserS

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.