Teaching the internet…

to understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration


A requirement in the computing curriculum for Key Stage 2 and I thought it might be helpful to share the experience of teaching this objective.

Asking the children about their experiences of the internet is always interesting. Inevitably you get a range of answers, but they may need some prompting to think of the actual instances of ‘communication and collaboration’ that it opens up. It could be the case that some of the children have never really used the internet beyond the odd search at school. Consider taking part in some collaborative projects prior to teaching this objective. Ideas can be found here. 

I began this unit with a quick look at the BBC Computing resources here.. there is a video which draws an analogy of birds nests and networking.

This then allows for an introduction to the language of computing – ‘network’ ‘server’ etc. It is interesting how many pupils are aware of the need for the ‘router’ to work (and may be able to talk about the router sharing information)-  but have not really thought about how we access the same websites from different places. Or how some pupils may have only seen a router at school, and so not really be aware of the network that sits behind it.

Bearing that in mind, you can then begin to get the children to role play a bit, and to discuss what happens if something doesn’t work.

We went on the ‘journey’ of  website – from an idea in the developers head (or a need from a school)- and then followed it down to some one typing in the web address. This in itself was interesting – as it gave the children the chance to consider how many different people were actually involved in creating a working website.

Finally we finished the lesson with the excellent ‘wheel’ from Simon Haughton’s site (the resources can be found here) – the differentiated ideas behind the paper internet – as well as the physical wheel allowed the children to put images to the vocabulary they had just learned, and think some more about the important role the internet plays in our society.



Main tasks:

  • Quick discussion around what they use the internet for, and what society uses the internet for.
  • Watching the video – comparing the internet with birds nests and networked ideas
  • Role play – the website must be moved from ‘developer’ to user at home. Where does it go? What role do the different parts play?
  • Paper exercise. Creation of the wheel, or the paper internet.

How have you got on with this objective? Have you met any glaring misconceptions?

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