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Computer insides-out hunt by Cindy O'Hora

To make an informed computer purchase you need some vocabulary and a basic understanding of what the major parts of a computer do.
This hunt will get you started. Paper-based Output device version

Directions: Use the links provided to find the answers to the questions. In the majority of questions you will research the answer within the site.
Use a bookmark of this hunt to speed your return to this hunt page.
If a link is broken, use your online searching skills to find information that will help you answer the question.

1. List some input devices you already know.



2. Write 4 more from this extensive list:



3. The salesperson is trying to sell your dad a digitizer tablet. Your dad is buying the computer for work. He is an accountant.
What is your advice?




4. Write the mandatory parts of a computer?



Computing changes rapidly. Write one of the "mandatory parts" that is no longer mandatory.



What does the hard drive do? Follow this terrific tutorial. I love the insides photos.




How does a hard disk work?




Of course, all computers NEED a hard drive. Or do they?


What is the alternative?


5. Your mom's recipe database, on her computer, is running pretty slow.
The repair shop suggests a new hard drive as a first step to speeding it up. Is this good advice?


When is hard drive speed important?




6. Memory - your computer has several different kinds of memory. Each one is important.
But in some computer uses or applications, one is more critical than another.

RAM is an acronym that stands for

What does RAM do?

7. Increasing VRAM (video memory) will improve performance in which computer uses?




8. The salesperson offers you a one time special. 10mb of virtual memory for $100. Are you buying?





9. How is a motherboard an essential part of a computer? another source / photo




10. You may have ridden a bus to school or even taken a bus trip to visit family members.
Did you know the computer has a bus? What is a computer bus? Look it up using your online search skills.




11. It is curious really. Many computer terms seem to be based on food. What is a chip?



TAI - A computer chip is: animal, vegetable or mineral?


12. True or False. Your sister decides to major in computer architecture in college.
That means she will be learning how to draw plans for buildings using a computer. Computer Architecture



13. The Altair 8800 was one of the first personal computers.

Compare or contrast this early computer's appearance with the computer you are using to view the web page.




14. What is the role of the microprocessor or CPU?


15. If you have a "need for speed" you'll want to carefully consider your options. Explain.




16. Your sister insists that her computer must let her effectively use Dragon Software.
List the hardware that will be necessary for her to use it. Use your online research skills to arrive at an answer.

How much RAM will her computer need?



17. You would not leave a faucet running constantly in case you want to wash your hands.
Consider the costs of leaving a computer on all the time. The cost of electricity

How Much Juice Is Your Computer Using?

“PCs are not hurt by turning them on and off a few times a day,” said Jonathan Koomey, a project scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Economic obsolescence is much more dangerous to PCs than turning them on and off.”

What do you conclude should be done? Leave it on / turn it off


* Your family is house shopping. Your dad asks the realtor about the Internet service available in the community.
He responds that they have four dialup companies. Your dad asks you, "Is that what we need?"


* What is the problem of e-waste?

"Moore's Law is dead," says Gordon Moore (Well, he certainly ought to know!)

Done already?

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2003 Cynthia J. O'Hora. In honor of Steve Wozniak released to public domain.
Updated 6/2024, posted 12/2003 Educators may print this hunt, exactly as it appears, for use in a non profit classroom setting.

tree Save a tree - use a digital answer format - Highlight the text on this page. Copy it. Paste it in a word processing document. Save the document in your folder. Answer on the word processing document in a contrasting color (not yellow) or font (avoid fancy fonts like Symbols, broadfont, blachfont) Perhaps you have the resources to record verbal answers. If you do, be sure to first read / record the question. Then record the answer immediately after it. You can submit the assignment via an electronic drop box or via email. Proof your responses. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets work. smiling icon

Make your own printer paper answer sheet

Tech Tip: Working in a group or in two different places like the library & home? You do not have to be physically together to work together. You do not have to take paper based notes at the library and digitalize them at home.
gold star Watch Google Docs video TAI - How could you use free, Google Docs to do a project? How would this facilitate group projects?