- describe the difference between RAM and ROM
- explain the need for ROM in a computer system
- describe the purpose of RAM in a computer system
- explain how the amount of RAM in a personal computer affects the performance of the computer
- explain the need for virtual memory
Lesson 1: RAM and ROM
Suggested time: 50 mins
I started with an activity adapted from a resource I found on CAS courtesy of Philip Upstone – “Main Memory - Kinaesthetic Activity”. You can find the original here: (http://community.computingatschool.org.uk/resources/938). In this activity, students move around the room simulating the transfer of data between various storage locations such as RAM, Cache memory, Secondary Storage and Virtual memory.
I started by explaining the difference between volatile and non-volatile memory. I then displayed, on the whiteboard, images of different types of memory and asked the students to try to identify each of the images and decide if was volatile or non-volatile. I then showed them two videos from Cambridge GCSE Computing Online – “The difference between RAM and ROM – Part A”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URYPErhTkMY & “The difference between RAM and ROM – Part B”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbAbhuTELWE
I introduced the next activity using a Voki (http://www.voki.com). A Voki is a free service that allows you to create personalised speaking avatars and use them on your blog, website, and in email messages.
I used the voki to instruct the students to, in their teams, complete the following task (See the voki I used below):
1. Create a Voki to describe one of the following:
c. Flash Memory
d. Virtual Memory
Include in your description:
a) What it’s used for
b) What it stores
c) What happens when it loses power
2. Explain why having higher amounts of RAM can speed up your system.
Students were given the following links to help them complete their task:
The difference between RAM and ROM – Part A (Cambridge GCSE Computing Online): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URYPErhTkMY
The difference between RAM and ROM – Part B (Cambridge GCSE Computing Online): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbAbhuTELWE
GCSE Computing.net – Memory: http://gcsecomputing.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/OCR%20A451%202.1.2%20Memory%20-%20Summary.pdf
Teach-ICT – Memory: http://www.teach-ict.com/gcse_new/computer%20systems/memory/miniweb/index.htm
PWN ICT: http://www.pwnict.co.uk/computingGCSE/computingResources.html (Click on Hardware and then Memory)
Students attempted memory quizzes on teach-ict: http://www.teach-ict.com/gcse_new/computer%20systems/memory/quizzes_memory.html
Alternatively: You could play a selection of students vokis to the whole class or students could attempt the “Difference between RAM and ROM activity” activity from the Cambridge GCSE Computing Online website. http://www.cambridgegcsecomputing.org/computing-hardware-main#.UmBa5RY45UQ
Suggested time: 50 mins (Note: Students may require an addition lesson in order to complete both tutorials)
Following on from the previous week’s lesson, I asked students to load TouchDevelop (www.touchdevelop.com) on their computers and sign in with their google, microsoft or yahoo id, if they have one. If they don’t already have an email account with google, Microsoft or yahoo, I ask them to create one.
Once logged in, I sent them to the TouchDevelop Challenge (www.touchdevelop.weebly.com) and asked them to click on Resources > Tutorials and attempt the Fruit Ninja clone tutorial (http://touchdevelop.weebly.com/tutorials.html).
Invited students to try out each other’s programs.