This image shows two worksheets titled "What is a computer." The text reads, "Computer Basics: Lesson and Activities."

Help Your Students Learn the Basics of a Computer 

In today’s digital age, it’s important for students to have an understanding of computers and how they work. From the history of computer science to a computer system’s parts and functions, this lesson will help your middle school students learn the basics of a computer.  

Start teaching your middle school students the basics of computer science with this no-prep computer basics lesson today.

The benefits of studying computer science

First and foremost, the field of computer science is booming, offering a vast array of job opportunities. Students with a background in computer science will be in high demand as they enter the workforce. The world of technology also allows students to unleash their creativity and innovative prowess. They have the opportunity to shape the digital landscape, craft revolutionary solutions, and bring their original ideas to life. 

When students learn the basics of a computer, they begin to develop a foundation for understanding the technology that powers our world, prepare themselves for future success, and potentially make a positive impact on society as a whole.

Find out more about the benefits of teaching computer science in middle school here.

The image shows two worksheets titled "What is a computer?" The text reads, "Middle School Computer Basics."

Explore misconceptions about computers

This intro to computers lesson starts out by having students examine common misconceptions about computers and the field of computer science. Students share how much they agree or disagree with the provided statements in an interactive whole class discussion.

This helps you gauge your students’ prior knowledge of and baseline interest in computer science. It also helps you identify where you may need to target and clarify student misconceptions throughout the lesson.

Learn about historical and present day uses of computers

Next, students conduct research in an independent webquest activity. The graphic organizer provides students with a list of questions to research, along with suggested websites to visit, and space to record their findings.

They use the provided websites to discover the history of computer science and interesting uses for modern day computers. This activity helps students develop an understanding of the wide reaching impacts of computer science and its importance in our everyday lives.

Discover computer parts and functions

Next, students continue their research by defining common terms in computer science and learn about computer parts and their functions. Students learn the difference between hardware and software, and input and output devices. They explain how the parts work together as a system and compare and contrast a computer to a brain.

Practice computer vocabulary

Finally, students apply their new knowledge about computers to complete a matching activity. They’ll cut out the computer science terms, such as “CPU,” “RAM,” and “software,” and match the terms to the correct definitions. This check for understanding will help you identify any misunderstandings and provide students with timely feedback.

What are other teachers saying about this computer science lesson?


“I love using this in my computers class to help them understand the basic parts and functions of a computer.”


“My students enjoyed this activity. The URL links made it easy for my students to follow and were great resources for the unit.”

How can you use this computer lesson in your classroom?

  • Use the lesson at the beginning of your computer science or technology unit to introduce concepts to your middle school students.
  • Leave the lesson as a STEM sub plan.
  • Assign the computer parts activities to early finishers.
  • Learn about computers for Computer Science Education Week in December.
  • Use the resource as extra credit, a holiday break packet, or an extension activity.
Get the lesson here!

Looking for more support teaching the basics of computer science?

Introducing middle school students to the basics of computer science can be tricky! This complete computer science unit will engage and amaze your students as they learn the fundamentals of computers and coding. The bundle includes over 100 pages of resources that can be used individually where they fit best within your STEM course or taught in sequence as a 3-week computer science unit. 

Computer Science lessons and activities for middle school

Grab these lessons today to get back your nights and weekends while knowing your students will be engaged in learning the basics of computers!

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