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:
- Identify reliable sources of information when doing research
- Synthesize information taken from multiple online sources
- Create an artifact (video, image, slide, poster, etc.) to communicate information about a computing topic
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.
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
- Better compression ratio or better quality image even when compressed
- Can hold larger or more complex types of information
- Different kinds of metadata
- Includes features not found in other formats
- Used by more people
- Open, no licensing fees
- Newer and optimized for modern technology
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!
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
- Choosing Your Format: It is
recommended that you place a time limit on this process (e.g. 10 minutes).
You may even consider simply assigning formats yourself. They are all
essentially equivalent in terms of difficulty. There's minimal difference
in terms of "quality" so long as students take a
creative angle towards the presentation. All these formats have been used
by someone at some point, so their job is to find out why and creatively
play up that angle.
- Conduct Your Research: This document
is intended to serve primarily as a guide to students for identifying online
sources of information. The skill students need to develop is identifying
useful resources on their own and then synthesizing this information. Being
presented with a structured way of doing this means students will have a model
for how to complete their research when completing the actual Explore PT. The
"Key Information to Find" highlights specific terminology
from the Explore PT that students will benefit from having seen earlier in
- Begin One-Pager: Have students begin
working on filling in the details of their one-pager as they research.
Complete One-Pager and Computational Artifact
- Complete One-Pager: Students should
continue filling in their one-pagers. Remind students to record their
sources of information as they go.
- Computational Artifact: Decide if you
will encourage students to all create separate kinds of computational
artifacts or if they will do them in a unified way. You might have everyone
create a slide, a short video (e.g. a 30 second "campaign ad" for their format) etc. Remind students of the requirements for this artifact
- A list of other formats you’d specifically like to target in your computational artifact
- Three key points you’d like to make in your artifact explaining the benefits of your format
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.
If time allows, students may wish to have an opportunity
to share their one-pagers and computational artifacts with one another.
- Computer Science Principles: 1.1.1 (A, B)
- Computer Science Principles: 1.2.1 (A, B, C, D, E)
- Computer Science Principles: 1.2.3 (A, C)
- Computer Science Principles: 1.2.4 (A, B, C, D, E, F)
- Computer Science Principles: 2.1.1 (B, C, D, E)
- Computer Science Principles: 2.1.2 (F)
- Computer Science Principles: 2.2.1 (A, B)
- Computer Science Principles: 3.2.1 (G, H, I)
- Computer Science Principles: 3.3.1 (D, E, G, H)
- Computer Science Principles: 7.3.1 (F, Q)
- Computer Science Principles: 7.5.1 (C)
- Computer Science Principles: 7.5.2 (A, B)