Computer & Internet History


Today’s students have not experienced a world without computers and the Internet.  This lesson introduces students to the beginnings of computers and the Internet, and the history behind the technology.  It does not include the impact technology has had on the world and everyday life, nor examines life before computers and the Internet, but it is discussed in the lesson.  The teacher is recommended to use the activity to stimulate a discussion about life before the Internet and its pros and cons.

Computer & Internet History Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Computer & Internet History
  • Hands-on homework activities on Computer & Internet History
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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The lesson introduces students to the beginnings of computers and the internet, and the history behind the technology. The lesson covers the abacus, origins of the calculator and binary code as part of the history portion of the lesson. Important people and companies involved in the development of computer technology are discussed in the lesson. The lesson ends with a timeline of the development of the internet and personal computers beginning in 1969 through today.

Classroom Procedure:

  1. Ask students: Think about the last 24 hours, what are some things you did personally, or saw completed, using a smart phone, computer, or other type of modern technology?
  2. Allow responses and discussion. Display students’ responses as they are given.  Ask students to tell about a time when there were no computers, smart phones, or other technology available for them to use.  What was it like?
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask students if they know when the computer/Internet was first used in society.
  4. Allow for responses. Introduce Computer and Internet History.
  5. Distribute Computer & Internet History content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  6. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Group students in 3s or 4s.  Allow students sufficient time to discuss and respond to the questions.  The final 2 questions are to be answered alone.
  7. Once completed, hold a class discussion related to each question. Allow students to share responses and their opinions.  Debate when necessary.  (All responses will vary.)
  8. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
  9. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  10. In closing, ask students: What surprises you the most about the history of computers and the Internet? Why?

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.3

Class Sessions (45 minutes): at least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

Many more teaching resources in Download!

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Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Social Studies