Lesson Plan

Alien Encounter: Basic Computer Knowledge Picture Book

Students complete a beginning of the year lesson on computer componments using a GRASPs lesson plan. They learn the basic components, brainstorm and role, and then the activity culminates when they write their own children's book using an iPad app.
Rachel B.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades Pre-K, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts, Health & Wellness
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to...

Start and exit computer programs
Locate and use file menu commands (New, Open, Close, Save, Save As, Print)
Use keyboard to create upper and lowercase letters
Use keyboard to locate and use special keys (enter, spacebar, shift)
Open and save existing files
Use editing functions in word processing software (font and font color)
Follow onscreen prompts to successfully operate iPad
Explain how to use and handle output devices (CD, DVD, USB drives)
Roleplay computer care procedures using puppets
Identify procedures for caring for the computer by writing and illustrating a children’s book
Demonstrate responsible care of the computer by writing and illustrating a children’s book
Summarize appropriate and inappropriate uses of computers by writing and illustrating a children’s book

English Language Arts
Grades 2 - 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Task 1: Author Brainstorming Session

Free, Paid

Teacher sets the stage for the students by telling them the following scenario:

You and your fellow classmates are world renowned computer experts, but  wanted to try something else, and decided to become a children’s book author. One day, you are working on your next book, when you hear a loud crash in your backyard. You peek out of your window, and spy some alien faces. They knock on your door, and propose a project for you: The alien children on their planet do not know how to use and care for computers from Earth. The teachers need a book for the school library that will tell the alien children about the different pieces of computer equipment and demonstrate how to care for each piece.

Students are called together for an Author’s Brainstorming session. Teacher explains that in order to write an informative book, authors must first research the topic they want to write about. As authors, the students have decided to visit a computer expert (teacher) to brush up on their knowledge. Teacher will, one by one, demonstrate each part of the computer for students, along with a basic explanation. Teacher should explain the following:

Monitor- shows us what the computer is “seeing”. It also has the speakers for the computer.

CPU- its real name is the central Processing Unit. It is the “brains” of the computer and stores everything the computer will need to use to run.

Keyboard- used to type information to the computer, such as words and numbers

Mouse- a device used to navigate and select items on the computer.

CD-ROM drive- A device that reads CDs, DVDs, and computer software.

USB slot- Insert a USB drive here. It will read the files on the drive and show them to the computer.

Printer- A device that lets you print something from the computer, such as a picture, or a story you’ve written.

Check for Understanding: Have different students come up to the front to show you and their classmates what they remember. Students should be able to locate the computer component and tell what it does. 

Finally, students return to their whole group spot. Teacher loads bubbl.us. Students take turns helping to create a brainstorming web that lists the parts of the computer, and what each part does.

2 Task 2: Computer Care Rules

Activity: Conversing

The computer expert (teacher) reminds the authors that with every computer system, there are rules to care for it. The computer expert states that he/she would like to continue the meeting with a review of the care rules for the computer. The visiting aliens have asked for the rules for computer care to be included in the book. To help you remember the care rules, the computer expert has asked you to demonstrate your knowledge with a puppet show. The computer expert reminds everyone that computers can get sick or break down. This means they won’t work correctly anymore. The computer expert reviews the following rules:

Keep food and drink away from the computer. You could spill a drink. Liquids will mess with the electronics in the computer, while food will get into parts and make them stick or not work correctly.
Never bang or hit computer equipment. This might cause it to break, or not work correctly anymore.
Keep the area around your computer dust free. Dust gets into the computer and can make it run more slowly or overheat
When handling a USB device, never touch the tip that inserts into the computer so that dust and dirt do not corrupt it.
When handling a CD or DVD, always hold with fingers of hands only touching the outside, or with one finger in the hole and one on the outside. Touching the bottom can mess up the memory.
Always store CDs and DVDs in their cases to keep them from getting broken or scratched.
If you don’t know how to fix something, ask someone who knows. Never attempt to fix the computer on your own if you don’t know what you’re doing. It might break it even more.

Check for Understanding: Students are given access to puppets. They are asked to use the puppets to act out one of the computer care rules. Students are paired up in groups of 2. Teacher gives students some time to work out what they will say before having each pair demonstrate their rule in front of the class. Optionally, teacher can record the student presentations with an iPad or other video recording software.


3 Task 3: Writing a Children's Book

Book Creator

Computer expert thanks the authors for attending his/her session and sends them off to write their children’s book. Before he leaves, he makes sure to remind the authors what information should be included in the book:

Every student works alone
Each page must clearly show a picture of the equipment
Each page should also neatly describe what the equipment is, and what it does
Computer care rules should also be mentioned in the book. Each rule should be on its own page OR explained on one page.

Students work alone with an iPad and the Book Creator app. Using the guidelines set forth by the teacher, the student uses the app to design their book. Once every student has finished their book, the students get into groups to share their stories with the rest of their classmates.