Year 8 – Layers of computing systems

Curriculum KS3 Unit


This unit takes learners on a tour through the different layers of computing systems: from programs and the operating system, to the physical components that store and execute these programs, to the fundamental binary building blocks that these components consist of. The aim is to provide a concise overview of how computing systems operate, conveying the essentials and abstracting away the technical details that might confuse or put off learners.The last lessons cover two interesting contemporary topics: artificial intelligence and open source software. These are linked back to the content of the unit, helping learners to both broaden their knowledge and focus on the topics addressed in the unit.

The unit assumes no prior knowledge. There are, however, links to the 'Representations' units taught in Years 8 and 9, the Year 7 unit 'Networks from semaphores to the Internet' and Year 8 unit 'Developing for the web'.

Unit guide

Updated: 10 Feb 2023

Learning graph

Updated: 10 Feb 2023

Summative assessment

Updated: 10 Feb 2023

Summative answer

Updated: 10 Feb 2023


Lesson 1

Get in gear

Lesson 2

Under the hood

Lesson 3

Orchestra conductor

Lesson 4

It's only logical

Lesson 5

Thinking machines

Lesson 6