Program Module #1: Powers of Ten

Program Module #1: Powers of Ten (Day 1 of 1)

[Note that the quizzes provided are named based on the material they cover, and NOT on the day that they are given.  I.e. The quiz labeled “Electronics – Day 1” is the quiz that asks about the material covered on day 1 of the electronics module, and is meant to be given on day 2 of the electronics module.]

Materials needed every day:

  1. Nametags
  2. Markers
  3. Scissors
  4. Tape
  5. Safety glasses
  6. Calculators 
  7. Student notebooks

Materials List:

1.)    Powers of Ten Video

2.)    Lab Top Computer with LCD Projector

3.)    “Computer Chip Movie” 

4.)    Meter Sticks (3-5)  (A 2-meter stick is usually helpful if it can found)

5.)    Rulers (3-5)

6.)    Dino-Lite USB microscope

7.)    Machine Screws with two different thread distances (2-3 of each type)

8.)    Mosquito specimens (1-2 for observation under microscope)


Pre-Class Preparations:

1.)    Provide name tags for each student (Rosters usually distributed a few days before the program begins)

2.)    Divide students, randomly, into 3 groups for group activities that will conclude the class.

3.)    Be sure copies of the handouts (15-20) are ready for distribution and that students are ready to cut out

         templates into their notebooks.


Lesson Plan:


1.)    Provide students with a solid review of class etiquette and expectations for the course.

2.)    Provide an overview of what is going to be covered in the course and how each module relates to the

         construction of a computer.

3.)    Provide a review of the metric system and units of length.

4.)    Provide a review and an appreciation of powers of ten as they relate to very small items.

5.)    Allow students to be comfortable with the terms meter, millimeter, micrometer, and nanometer.

6.)    Provide real applications of converting between the units of meter, millimeter, micrometer, and


7.)    Allow students to gain an appreciation of how small some units can be



1.)    Distribute notebooks, nametags, printed materials. (5 minutes)

2.)    Ice Breaking Activity/ Getting to know you Introductions. (5 minutes)
3.)    Discussion of Class Rules and expectations. (5 Minutes)
4.)    Discussion of computers and a preview of what is to be learned in the course. (10 Minutes)
5.)    Review of the Metric units of length and conversions between units. (~20 Minutes)
6.)    View Computer Chip Movie (10 Minutes time permitting)
7.)    Engage in Metric units of length workstations in groups of (5-7) (30 minutes)

Additional Information about Agenda Items:
1.)      Students should collect a notebook, and the printed materials for the day as they enter the room.  Get them started taping the pages into the notebooks before you begin the class. 

2.)       Be brief with introductions, have students say their name and what school they attend.  It may also be appropriate to ask if the student has taken a high school chemistry course. 

3.)       Start this agenda item with a discussion of the metric unit of length, the meter.  Divisions of the meter—millimeter, micrometer, and nanometer should be discussed in terms of fractions of a meter.  Ex: a millimeter is 1/1000th of a meter.  Use questions listed in the notebook pages as a possibility.  It’s also important that students understand how to convert between units.  Time restrictions make it difficult to be as thorough here as you may wish.   Emphasizing the general practical usefulness of this skill in the students’ future coursework (particularly college coursework) can help to focus their attention.  The unit cancellation method is recommended at this point.  Go through at least two examples of conversions using the unit cancellation method or some other method.

6.)       The point is to emphasize the precision required in manufacture of computer components.  Very small issues can cause very big problems.  If there isn’t enough time, the video also fits neatly with the Electronics unit, or the Photolithography unit.

7.)   Follow activities for each of three stations that will contain 5-7 students predetermined before class starts.  Station #1, the meter, work with meter sticks; Station #2, the millimeter, work with rulers; Station #3, micrometers, work with the USB microscope.  Follow the notebook pages for specific instructions and follow-up questions for each station.  All of data collected and the answers to the follow-up questions must be placed in the students’ lab notebook.


Handouts and Presentations:

  1. Course Expectations
  2. Notebook pages – Powers of 10
  3. Quiz – Powers of 10
  4. CPU movie
  5. Powers of 10 video (