Learning about the Internet builds on student knowledge gained in the prior units, Introduction to Computers, Circuits and Switches, Digital Information, and Microprocessors. The online lessons and videos in this unit introduce students to:
- The idea that the Internet is a network of networks linking computers around the world
- The unique addresses (URLs) that allow one computer to send information to another computer
- The way information travels in packets on the Internet and is reassembled by the recipient's computer
- The reasons faster connections, offering more bandwidth, are important for better performance
- The need to think critically about the quality of the information you receive on the Internet
Students will learn:
- That the Internet is a network of computer networks
- Why the World Wide Web is a special part of the Internet and how it popularized the Internet
- How hypertext links and URLs work
- How digital information is transported on the Internet
- Why fast connections improve performance
- That the quality of information varies greatly on the Web
Time to Complete Online Lessons: about 45 minutes
- Read the background information.
- Review and prepare for supplemental lesson ideas and group activities.
- Organize materials and equipment:
Student computers with an active Internet connection
Copies of the student handouts for this unit that you plan to use
Printouts of the interactive whiteboard images (optional)
- Have students complete the online activities:
Throughout the unit, facilitate the development of new vocabulary introduced in this unit.
- Students who are not at the computer can work on supplemental lesson ideas and group activities.
- After students complete the online materials, they can:
Describe in their own words how information travels on the Internet (Key concept: information can take any number of paths to get from one computer to another)
Explain why they should not always trust the information they receive over the Internet, and why?
This handout shows students the path an e-mail message goes to get from one person to another.
Did You Get the Message?
This handout provides a great group activity for teaching students the importance of turning various kinds of media—such as sound or video—into an agreed-upon protocol for transmission on a network.
Put It in Your Packet
This handout provides a group activity for helping students understand how information is transmitted in packets. Students play the role of packets to learn how information can be divided into packets and reassembled by a computer in the proper order no matter how they are received. The activity also provides students with a firsthand chance to learn about bandwidth using the doorway to your classroom.
Interactive White Image
The image linked below are pertinent to this unit. You can project the image on an interactive whiteboard and use them in class discussions or activities.
This unit provides a short history of the computer, introduces the four major components of a computer, and compares computer "brains" with the human brain.
This unit teaches students about electricity, electric circuits, and the difference between mechanical and nonmechanical (transistors) switches.
This unit explores the differences between the decimal and binary number systems and how the information is represented and processed using binary code.
This unit investigates how microprocessors process information, demonstrates the size and the complexity of their circuitry, and explains how they are manufactured.
This unit defines the Internet, then explains the World Wide Web, hypertext, URLs, packets, bandwidth, connection choices, search engines, and the need to critically evaluate the quality of the information found on the Web.
This unit discusses the impact technological advances have on people's lives, with examples from the past and current day. Several readings provide insights on ways the digital age is already affecting our lives, the accelerating rate of change, and what we might expect to see in the near future.