Learning Objectives

After completing this unit students will be able to:

  • Identify and define hardware and software 
  • Be able to correctly categorize hardware and software from a given list
  • Convert a number from one number system to another (including, but not limited to binary, decimal, and hexadecimal)  
  • Recall the name for units in binary, hexadecimal, and decimal counting systems (bit, digit, place, etc.)
  • Understand approximate file sizes in terms of bytes of various types of files (movies, mp4 files, word documents, etc.)
  • Explain why computers use a binary system to store information (Boolean Logic, gates easily represent on/off)
  • Explain how the “ones and zeros” are represented on various media (electromagnetic, optical, etc.)
  • Model single and combined logic gates and truth tables using AND, OR, XOR, and NOT operators
  • Understand and can apply Boolean Identities
  • Convert between Boolean Expressions (equations), Truth Tables, and Logic Gates

Suggested Reading

Important Vocab

  • Abstraction – reducing information and detail to facilitate focus on relevant concepts
  • Application – almost everything on the computer except saved files and the operating system, including word processors, photo editing software, web browsers, games, and music programs
  • ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange
  • Binary – base-two, numeral system that uses zero and one
  • BIOS – basic input/output system
  • Bit – each numeral in the binary system, zero or one
  • Boolean Logic – a branch of algebra where variables can only have two values: true or false
  • Byte – eight bits
  • Central Processing Unit (CPU) –carries out every command or process on the computer and can be thought of as the brain of the computer
  • Computer – an electronic device that processes data according to a set of instructions or commands, known as a program
  • Core – the central processing unit (CPU), the main memory, the motherboard, and the power supply
  • Decimal – base-ten, numeral system that uses zero to nine
  • Digit – each number in the decimal system, zero to nine
  • Hardware – the physical parts of the computer, including devices such as the monitor, keyboard, speakers, wires, chips, cables, plugs, disks, printers, and mice
  • Hexadecimal – base 16, number system that uses 0-9 and a–f
  • Input and output (I/O) devices – how the user interacts with the computer
  • Main memory – memory that temporarily stores information while it is being sent to the CPU, also called RAM
  • Motherboard (logic board) – the standardized printed circuit board that connects the CPU, main memory, and peripherals
  • Nonvolatile – does not need a power supply. Information is physically written to the device
  • Nybble (or Nibble) – half byte, four bits
  • Operating System – software that serves as an intermediate between the hardware and the applications and is in charge of keeping the entire system running smoothly
  • Peripherals – the input and output (I/O) devices and the secondary memory
  • POST – power-on self-test
  • Power Supply – converts AC electricity to the lower voltage DC electricity that is needed to power the computer
  • Random Access Memory (RAM) – memory that can be retrieved or written to anywhere without having to go through all the previous memory
  • Secondary Memory – used for long term storage and is physically changed when files are saved or deleted
  • Sequential memory – memory used to store back-up data on a tape
  • Software – includes the operating system and the applications. It is usually stored on a computer’s hard drive and cannot physically be touched. At the lowest level, it is a series of ones and zeros
  • Truth Table – a table made up of rows and columns of Boolean variables and resulting Boolean expressions
  • Volatile – needs a power supply. Turning off the power deletes information

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