Computer Science

KS3 Intent: Computer Science

The study of computer science at KS3 equips pupils with skills in computational thinking and forges links between other areas of study such as maths and science. Students are taught the basics of what constitutes a computer system and how it works, to how they can successfully and efficiently program a computer system. The study of computer science also develops creativity and digital literacy which is essential for students to be able to express ideas and information using digital media which is essential for their future workplace and for their role as active participants in a digital age.

Implementation:

Year

Term

Topic

Knowledge, skills and understanding

Window for Assessment

7

1

Using Computers Safely

 

 

This unit introduces students to the network and highlights the importance of behaving safely when using the internet and social networking. This is vital for safeguarding children both at home and at school as they participate in a wealth of digital media on a number of devices.  The unit also introduces students to the hardware they will be using and provides an overview of how to use it safely and effectively.

There is a focus on transferable skills such as:

  • File management which will ensure that students can efficiently and logically name, file and retrieve documents
  • Keeping data safe which will teach the importance of keeping data secure form a personal safety perspective and from a legal and ethical perspective.
  • Using email which will teach students to be responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology both at home and in the workplace.
  • Searching the web – this enables students to use effective search methods to retrieve relevant information and to evaluate sources.

End of topic assessment

7

1

Understanding Computers

 

This unit covers the basic principles of computer architecture and use of binary.

Pupils first look at the Input-Process-Output sequence and the Fetch-Decode-Execute cycle through practical activities which help them understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems

Pupils will then look at some simple binary to decimal conversion and vice versa, and learn how text characters are represented using the ASCII code. This will be followed by some simple binary addition. This will teach students how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds, and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits; be able to convert between binary and decimal, and perform simple binary arithmetic

Finally, they will look at a brief history of communication devices, how new technologies and applications are emerging and the pace of change. This will enable students to contextualise their learning by looking at how the technology they use each day has built on the technology of the past and what advancements they can expect in the future.

End of topic assessment

7

2

Boolean Logic

 

This unit will build on the knowledge of binary and data types and show how logic is used by search engines and within computer systems. Students will understand that when designing programs, there are often points where a condition needs to be tested in order to make a decision and that Boolean logic is how this process is possible. This create links with mathematics as students will realise that Boolean logic is a form of algebra where all values are either True or False. Students are then introduced to the idea that these values are then used to make decisions in the program and lead into the three programming concepts of sequence, selection and iteration. This enables students to understand programming concepts in their simplest form before they are introduced to programming languages later in the year.

End of topic assessment

7

2

Graphics

 

This unit is an introduction to graphics and graphic file types. The unit introduces bitmap and vector images and explores how they are represented and stored by the computer, building on and contextualise prior knowledge from Understanding Computers and Using Computers Safely. Pupils will be able to undertake a creative project and practise skills in design, photo-editing and image manipulation using a suitable graphics package. This will involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability. These skills will allow students to create digital and print content that is fit for its given purpose and target audience and encourage them to think critically about the design decisions they make and justify them.

The assessment for this unit is based on a portfolio of graphics created by the students in which they will explain design decisions, choice of graphics and file types and suitability for known audience. This will allow students to think objectively about their work and apply their knowledge to its evaluation.

Portfolio

 

7

2

Spreadsheet Modelling

This is a practical, skills-based unit covering the principles of creating and formatting basic spreadsheets to produce and use simple computer models. Pupils will develop a basic knowledge of spreadsheets including cell references, simple formulae and formatting. This allows students to develop skills in spreadsheet software so they will be able to design, use and evaluate computational abstractions. The unit is centred on creating a financial model for a TV show which contextualises their learning as they will model the state and behaviour of real-world problems by calculating the expected income from viewers’ voting, similar to television programmes they will be familiar with.

The model students create will also include sales from merchandising, with the introduction of “what if” scenarios allowing pupils to manipulate data to hypothesise and predict a number of outcomes, testing their theories. Finally the pupils create a seating plan, book seats and calculate income from seat sales.

Spreadsheet features covered include SUM, MAX, IF and COUNTIF functions, cell naming for absolute referencing, conditional formatting, validation, charting and simple macros. This allows students to challenge themselves by incorporating complex formulae and skills into their model and evaluate its effectiveness as modelling a real-life scenario.

Portfolio

End of topic assessment

7

3

Algorithms

In this unit, students will be introduced to algorithms using examples from the real-world to contextualise learning. The concept of an algorithm as a set of instructions will be explored through a series of scenarios such as following a recipe or instructions to create a paper plane for example. During this process, students will be able to identify problems in the instructions and suggest ways to improve them. This unit allows students to understand that, unlike humans; computers cannot infer or use common sense so rely on very specific, accurate instructions. By using practical activities to demonstrate this, students will become familiar with the computing acronym GIGO (garbage in-garbage out), as their outcomes from following given algorithms will vary in degrees of success.

The unit will then focus on understanding several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking (for example, ones for sorting and searching) and explore these using logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem.

The learning from this unit is then built upon in the next unit Introduction to Python, where the concept of an algorithm will be explored using a text-based programming language.

End of topic assessment

7

3

Introduction to Python

This unit is an introduction to Python, a powerful but easy-to-use high-level programming language. This will build on prior learning from a number of units and help to consolidate it using practical programming exercises. The focus is on getting pupils to understand the process of developing programs, the importance of writing correct syntax (being able to formulate algorithms for simple programs and debugging their programs. This allows students to start with an initial problem, format this into a basic algorithm and then program this, identifying and resolving any bugs or any areas where the solution may lack efficiency. This develops the ability to use an iterative approach to problems and also develops resilience when faced with problems allowing them to develop a solution-based approach.

The pupils’ final programs are put into a learning portfolio with evidence of correct running, for assessment purposes.

Portfolio

Final program

8

1

Database Development

Database development is a practical unit covering the basic theory, creation and use of a single-table database and a simple relational database involving two tables. Pupils will start by looking at an existing single-table database, learning how to add records and make queries. This teaches them the advantages of using a database to store and retrieve information for a given purpose, but also highlights the limitations of using a single-table database in some scenarios, leading them to understand the advantages of relational (multi-table) databases. It also allows them to design queries in order to interrogate data for a given purpose, developing their confidence and skill when using large datasets to solve real-world problems and model scenarios. This builds on the previous unit Spreadsheet Modelling.

In subsequent lessons they will create

  • a single-file or two-table relational database of their own, using suitable field types and adding in appropriate validations (This builds on prior knowledge from Understanding Computers)
  • An input form with help text, combo boxes and list boxes queries and a report using data from one or both tables. This helps students to understand the importance of making data easy to access and manipulate for all users, taking account of the needs of individuals. This builds on prior knowledge from Graphics
  • A front end menu for their application linking to the database input form and report. This teaches pupils that software can integrate with other pieces of software to create reports and documents that make data simpler to understand and to work with for a wide demographic. It illustrates that the data they interrogated earlier in the unit can be presented in a number of ways and allows students to select appropriate formats, based on purpose and audience. This builds on prior knowledge from Graphics.

 

End of topic assessment

8

1

HTML

HTML is the language that web browsers understand and one of the basic programming languages for web development and design. It is beneficial to learn for developers, marketers, and people in many other disciplines. Learning HTML can be used for situations like formatting a blog or email, working with a CMS, embedding external content on a website, and creating usable content.

In this unit students will be taught how to create a website in its simplest form and then will build on this by learning and researching additional HTML tags in order to add additional content to their page.

This will build on prior units such as Python as students will have an appreciation for the importance of syntax and the iterative approach to problem-solving. Additionally, the knowledge created in Graphics will help students choose appropriate file types and to format their page appropriately for context and audience.

Final product

8

2

Control Systems

This is a practical unit covering the principles of producing control and monitoring solutions using a flowchart-based interface (Flowol 4 or earlier). This unit builds on prior knowledge from Algorithms as pupils will be designing, evaluating and using computational abstractions that model a number of real-world scenarios such as the changing of traffic lights or the raising of a bridge. This unit helps students visualise the algorithm as a flowchart, then observe the outcome of their design on a set of traffic lights. They will then be tasked with iteratively reviewing and reshaping their solution to solve more complex problems and to debug their solutions as appropriate.

Pupils will start by producing systems that use simple loops and basic outputs, and then move on to look at systems that have multiple inputs and outputs. They will refine their solutions using subroutines and variables. This also builds on Understanding Computers as students will understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems.

Portfolio

 

2

Python Next Steps

This unit builds on prior experience in Python, and the first lesson has a series of tasks designed to revisit the basic skills already covered. Pupils then use FOR loops and compare their use with WHILE loops, before moving on to arrays (lists), which are introduced as a new data structure and are used in conjunction with for loops.

Functions with and without parameters are covered to help pupils understand the concept and benefits of modular programming. This unit is designed to take pupils right up to a point where a GCSE in Computing can pick up from and should provide ample experience of programming in order to confirm any decision to pursue Computing as a GCSE option.

End of unit assessment

Final program

8

2

App Creation

The aim of this unit is to teach the pupils how to build their own apps using a web-based app builder. It will give them all the tools and resources to build a working web app which can be used on any HTML5 compatible device. In the unit they will evaluate existing apps, mock up their own designs and build, test and evaluate their own apps. Students will have a good understanding of apps and what users will require from them form both their prior knowledge of computer science but mostly from daily use of apps on their own device. This practical activity will allow them to realise the creation of an app  of their own design and the ability to create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability

By the end of this unit they will have an understanding of a good user interface, know the difference between web apps and native apps, and be able to find and create resources such as icons and backgrounds.

Final product

8

3

Computer Crime and Cyber Security

This unit covers some of the legal safeguards regarding computer use, including overviews of the Computer Misuse Act, Data Protection Act and GDPR and Copyright Law and their implications for computer use. A number of real-world scenarios are used to help students to understand and contextualise the implications of living in a digital world where data is a valuable and sometimes dangerous commodity. Phishing scams and other email frauds, hacking, “data harvesting” identity theft and safe use of social media are discussed together with ways of protecting online identity and privacy. These common abuses of data allow students to be aware of potential threats and to also be aware of their own rights regarding the use and storage of data. This will include Health and Safety Law and environmental issues such as the safe disposal of old computers are also discussed. Students will be able to relate to the factors that contribute to e-waste such as planned obsolescence and the impact that their own consumption of technology has on the world. This will allow them to develop an understanding of a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognising inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns

End of unit assessment

8

3

Creating a Video

In this unit pupils will undertake a creative project to analyse, plan, shoot and edit a short advertisement for TV, a short movie on a topic such as Cyber Crime or a short film trailer. This will allow them to incorporate prior learning from units studied and to select and combine multiple applications to achieve their goal, taking into account purpose and known audience needs.

Pupils will first analyse existing TV advertisements, movie clips or film trailers, allowing them to identify commonalities and media conventions and to create their own success criteria. Following this, pupils will then storyboard their ideas in small groups allowing them to work collaboratively on initial plans in order to come up with useful solutions. Students will then shoot each scene and edit the clips gathered in filming into a short movie or advert. Students will have to be judicious in their approach to selecting and combing media in order to meet the needs of the users. They will need to use an iterative approach to the project, selecting and refining content as the product develops.

This unit allows students to use a creative method of consolidating much of the knowledge and skill they have gained throughout KS3 and to work both individually and in groups to create a real-world solution to a problem.

Final product

 

KS4 Intent: Computer Science

The study of Computer Science at Key Stage 4 builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills established through the Computer Science elements in the Key Stage 3 programme of study. The content has been designed not only to allow for a solid basis of understanding but to engage learners and get them thinking about real world computer systems. The course will help learners to gain an insight into related sectors. It will prepare learners to make informed decisions about further learning opportunities and career choices related to this field of study.

Implementation

Year

Term

Topic

Knowledge, skills and understanding

Window for Assessment

9

1

Component 1 – Computer Systems

1.1 Systems Architecture

1.2 Memory and storage

Students will develop an understanding of the Architecture of the CPU and how common characteristics of the CPU affect its performance. Students will learn about Embedded Systems and will understand many modern devices contain embedded systems.

 

Students will develop an understanding for the need of primary and secondary storage in computer systems. Students will learn about units of data and how data is stored in binary format. This leads to learning about the need to compress data to reduce transfer speeds and storage space for files.

End of unit assessment: Systems Architecture

 

End of unit assessment: Memory and storage Architecture

9

2

Component 1 – Computer Systems

1.3 Computer networks, connections and protocols

1.4 Network security

Students will learn about the different types of networks and topologies, and how networks are connected wired and wirelessly using protocols and layers.

 

Students will gain knowledge on the threats to computer systems and networks and be able to identify and prevent vulnerabilities.

End of unit assessment: Networks

9

3

Component 1 – Computer Systems

1.5 Systems software

1.6 Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impacts of digital technology

Students will learn about systems software that runs the computer. These are operating systems and utility software.

Students will develop an understanding on how digital technology impacts on the wider society including:  ethical issues, legal issues, cultural issues, environmental issues and privacy issues. Students are encouraged to research and explore the wider influences on Computer Science, to appreciate and understand the factors associated within this field.

 

Students will learn about different legislation related to Computer Science. These are:

  • The Data Protection Act 2018
  • Computer Misuse Act 1990
  • Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988
  • Software licences (i.e. open source and proprietary

End of unit assessment: Systems software

End of unit assessment: Ethical, legal, cultural and environmental impacts of digital technology

 

Year 9 End of Year Assessment: Component 1

10

1

Component 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

2.1 Algorithms

2.2 Programming fundamentals

  • Practical programming

Students will learn about the three principles of computational thinking: decomposition, abstraction and algorithmic thinking. They will apply these principles to define and refine solutions to a problem.

 

Students will learn how to design, create and refine algorithms using pseudocode, flowcharts and high-level programming language.

 

Students will learn how computers follow algorithms to find and organise items. They will be able to identify and apply sorting and searching algorithms when given the code for it or data set.

 

Students will learn how to use the three basic programming constructs; sequence, selection and iteration. They will be able to apply different data types and additional programming techniques through practical programming in the classroom and theoretical context.

End of unit assessment: Algorithms and programming fundamentals

10

2

Component 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

2.3 Producing robust programs

2.4 Boolean logic

  • Practical programming

To keep programs safe from tampering, students will learn how defensive design helps ensure programs function properly. Through practical programming, students will be able to design input validation and simple authentication. When writing programs, students will also learn about the purpose of testing through practical programming and theoretical context.

 

Students will understand how Boolean Logic is used in Computer Science and be able to identify and create Logic Gates and Truth tables.

End of unit assessments

 

Year 10 mock examinations including all units studied

10

3

Component 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

2.5 Programming languages and Integrated Development Environments

  • Practical programming

For computers to process any computer language it needs to be translated into machine code. Students will learn about the differences between high-level (e.g. Python) and low-level (e.g. machine code) computer languages and the purpose of translators.

 

In practical programming, students will use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and gain knowledge of the tools that an IDE provides to develop programs.

End of unit assessments

11

1

Component 1 – Computer Systems

Through sustained and focused learning activities, students will further develop and refine their theoretical knowledge of Computer Systems.

Year 11 mock examinations covering all units studied

11

2

Component 2 – Computational thinking, algorithms and programming

 

Students will use Computational Thinking skills to solve problems and create solutions. Students will build upon their practical programming knowledge, through varied focused practical tasks. Self and peer evaluation are encouraged which is vital for the successful development of programs.