Year 9 — Computer Science

Term 1: Cybersecurity

This unit takes the learners on an eye-opening journey of discovery about techniques used by cybercriminals to steal data, disrupt systems, and infiltrate networks. The learners will start by considering the value of their data to organizations and what they might use it for. They will then look at social engineering techniques used by cybercriminals to try to trick users into giving away their personal data. The unit will look at the more common cybercrimes such as hacking, DDoS attacks, and malware, as well as looking at methods to protect ourselves and our networks against these attacks.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Create a supportive community:

Term 2: Data Science

In this unit, students will be introduced to data science, and by the end of the unit they will be empowered by knowing how to use data to investigate problems and make changes to the world around them. Students will be exposed to both global and local data sets and gain an understanding of how visualizing data can help with the process of identifying patterns and trends. Towards the end of the unit, the students will go through the steps of the investigative cycle to try to solve a problem in the school using data.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Create a supportive community:

Term 3: New title

Films, television, computer games, advertising, and architecture have been revolutionised by computer-based 3D modelling and animation. In this unit students will discover how professionals create 3D animations using the industry-standard software package, Blender. By completing this unit learners will gain a greater understanding of how this important creative field is used to make the media products that we consume. Sessions will take learners through the basics of modelling, texturing, and animating; outputs will include 3D models, short videos, and VR. Links are made throughout to computer science, computational thinking, and the world of work. Tools and techniques learnt in this unit can also be used for 3D printing.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Create a supportive community:

Term 4: Physical Computing

This unit applies and enhances the students’ programming skills in a new engaging context: physical computing, using the BBC micro:bit.

In the first half of the unit, students will get acquainted with the host of components built into the micro:bit, and write simple programs that use these components to interact with the physical world. In the process, they will refresh their Python programming skills and encounter a range of programming patterns that arise frequently in physical computing applications.

In the second half, learners will work in pairs to build a physical computing project. They will be required to select and design their project purposefully, apply what they have learnt by building a prototype, and keep a structured diary throughout the process.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Create a supportive community:

Term 5: Python programming with sequences of data

This unit introduces students to how data can be represented and processed in sequences, such as lists and strings. The lessons cover a spectrum of operations on sequences of data, that range from accessing an individual element to manipulating the entire sequence. Great care has been taken so that the selection of problems used in the programming tasks are realistic and engaging: learners will process solar system planets, book texts, capital cities, leaked passwords, word dictionaries, ECG data, and more.

A range of pedagogical tools are employed throughout the unit, with the most prominent being pair programming, live coding, and worked examples.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Create a supportive community:

Term 6: Representations: going audiovisual

In this unit, students will focus on digital media such as images and sounds, and discover the binary digits that lie beneath these types of media.

Just like in the previous unit, where students examined characters and numbers, the ideas that learners need to understand are not really new to them. They will draw on familiar examples of composing images out of individual elements, mixing elementary colours to produce new ones, and taking samples of analogue signals, to illustrate these ideas and bring them together in a coherent narrative.

This unit also has a significant practical aspect. Students will use relevant software (GIMP and Audacity, in this case) to manipulate images and sounds and get an idea of how the underlying principles of digital representations are applied in real settings.

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural

Develop the individual:

Create a supportive community: