The image shows a computer lab. The text reads "Computer Parts: Lesson and Activities."

Computer Parts Lesson Plan

So you’re teaching computer science… Now what?

This computer parts lesson plan will help you kick off your middle school computer science or technology course by teaching the basics. Using printable or digital materials, students will explore their background knowledge about computers and learn the basic components and characteristics of computers through class discussion and a webquest activity.

This image shows a "What is a Computer?" webquest and puzzle activity. This is part of a computer parts lesson plan.

Why start your course with learning computer parts?

Understanding how a computer works, including the parts and functions of various hardware and software components, builds the foundation students need to learn computer science. Your students will have a much deeper level of understanding of computer programming if they have the bigger picture of how information flows through a computer first.

What is included in the computer parts lesson plan?

The lesson begins with students exploring common misconceptions about computers in a class discussion based on 5 prompts, including: 

  1. Are computers smarter than humans?
  2. Are all computers connected to the internet?
  3. Only “hackers” need to know about programming computers.
  4. Computer science is for everyone.
  5. Will understanding computers and how they work be more important in the future?

Then they participate in a self-guided webquest to learn about the invention of computers, define common terms in computer science, and learn about the components and characteristics of computers. Your students will learn about:

  • Central Processing Units (CPU)
  • Common input devices, such as mice, microphones, and keyboards
  • Common output devices, such as speakers, monitors, and printers
  • How a computer is similar to and different from a human brain
  • Random Access Memory (RAM)
  • The difference between hardware and software
  • The first modern computer and what it was used for

Finally, students close out the lesson and demonstrate their understanding with a fun matching puzzle activity.

This lesson will engage your students and ensure they have the basics down before jumping into more complex computer science and coding concepts. It also makes for a great sub-lesson plan and review activity!

What’s next?

Keep reading to find out more information about starting a computer science course and what to teach next.

If you want to save 20% and get 3 weeks of ready-to-go lesson plans and activities to teach your middle school students the fundamentals of computer science, click here!

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