In this lesson students will conduct a small amount of research to explore a file format either currently in use or from history. Students will conduct research in order to complete a "one-pager" that summarizes their findings. They will also design a computational artifact (video, audio, graphic, etc.) that succinctly summarizes the advantages of their format over other similar ones.

This lesson is intended to be a quick, short version of a performance task in which students rapidly do some research and respond in writing. The goal is to develop skills that students will use when they complete the actual Explore PT later in the year.


Students will be able to:


This lesson concludes Unit 2's investigation of file sizes, formats, metadata, and compression. The activity is designed for students to practice research skills that will be beneficial when completing the Explore PT while also applying the knowledge they have developed across the unit. The "showdown" aspect of the project is designed to both encourage students to think more deeply about the inherent tradeoffs of different file formats and also provide a motivating context in which to perform their research. The computational artifact completed in this project has a direct parallel to the computational artifact students are expected to design for the Explore PT.


Getting Started

Prompt: Imagine I was comparing two different file formats for representing images. I tell you that one of them is "better" than the other. Based on everything that you've learned in this unit, what might "better" mean? Try to come up with at least three ideas and incorporate vocabulary from the unit.

Discuss: Have students quietly write their responses, then share with a neighbor, then discuss with the class. Some potential responses might include:

Today we're going to dig a little deeper into this question by doing a Rapid Research project. Not only are you going to research your own file format, you're going to make the case why yours is the best!


Distribute: Rapid Research - Format Showdown - Activity Guide and Rapid Research - Format Showdown - One-pager Template and review as a class.

Choose Format, Research, Begin One-Pager

Complete One-Pager and Computational Artifact

Pro Tip: As students saw in the previous lesson, performing research on computing topics is a skill unto itself. Reinforce skills reviewed in the previous lesson as students move to this part of the activity.

Wrap Up

Presentation (Optional)

If time allows, students may wish to have an opportunity to share their one-pagers and computational artifacts with one another.

Standards Alignment