~ Memory

PowerPoint Theory

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Starter - be Inspired

If you really think about it - how does a lump of flesh (and that's what our brain is) remember facts and figures? But we're not talking about the brain here ...you may find it interesting to contrast and compare computer and brain memory in your own time though!

Memory is such an interesting and deeply curious thing. No one completely understands what or how human memory works, but we do understand computer memory! Why? Because computers are entirely man made and the mechanism is known and documented. In this topic you will be exploring the theory associated with computer memory. Be inspired and enjoy!

Computer Memory Explained


1. How do you think the memory humans have and computers have are different? Discuss!

2. What is the difference (discuss before you actually research it) between the memory in your phone and on a computer? Are there different types of 'computer memory'?

Topic: Memory

In this topic you will be looking at what computer memory is, RAM, ROM, Virtual and Flash Memory.

Let's kick things off with this video:

Starter Video - RAM and ROM

How Computer Memory works....

What is RAM?

What is ROM?

Discussion Questions

Discussion for class/pairs/groups.

1. Are there any similiarities, from what knowledge you have of the brain, between how computer memory and our memory works?

2. If you were a heavy gamer which type of memory (ROM or RAM) would be more important? Explain your answer. Does RAM always speed a computer up? What do you think?

3. What are other questions you have about how computer memory works?

4. Why is it inaccurate to use the word "fast" when talking about different types of memory. Why is it better to talk in terms of "transfer of data speeds"


Things you need to find out 

1. What is BIOS? How is this related to ROM and what misconceptions exist.

2. Explain how RAM is important for processing power

3. What is ROM. Provide examples

4. How does RAM work and how is it linked to the CPU?

Common misconceptions to consider:

1 Does ROM store the operating system

It is important to understand that this is NOT actually how it works. The operating system is stored on secondary storage. ROM holds BIOS which locates all of the hardware prior to the operating system loading. It will then get the processor to load the OS by pointing to where it is stored.

2 Does RAM always speed a computer up?

Nope, and that's because adding more RAM to a system will only help if the RAM that is currently installed is always filled to 100% and more space is needed.


Virtual memory is a common part of most operating systems on desktop computers. It has become so common because it provides a big benefit for users at a very low cost.

In this article, you will learn exactly what virtual memory is, what your computer uses it for and how to configure it on your own machine to achieve optimal performance. http://computer.howstuffworks.com/virtual-memory.htm

Configuring Virtual Memory

Windows 98 is an example of a typical operating system that has virtual memory. Windows 98 has an intelligent virtual memory manager that uses a default setting to help Windows allocate hard drive space for virtual memory as needed. For most circumstances, this should meet your needs, but you may want to manually configure virtual memory, especially if you have more than one physical hard drive or speed-critical applications.

To do this, open the "Control Panel" window and double-click on the "System" icon. The system dialog window will open. Click on the "Performance" tab and then click on the "Virtual Memory" button. (source: howstuffworks)

Discussion Questions

Discussion for class/pairs/groups.

1. Can you explain the concept of Virtual Memory to your partner in just ONE SENTENCE? Be concise!

2. Why is Virtual memory important?

Additional Video:


 1. What is Virtual Memory

2. How does it work?

3. Advantages and Disadvantages





What is Flash Memory?

Discussion Questions

Discuss as part of a class discussion or in pairs/in a group

1. What sort of memory do you think your phone uses? Why is it different from what a PC uses?

2. Do you think the term "flash" for this type of memory is appropriate? Why or why not?

Research - you have 10 minutes to look up the following and be prepared to share your answers

1. What is Flash memory

2. Advantages and Disadvantages over other types of memory

3. Explain briefly how this type of memory works

Additional info on Flash Memory

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory

2. http://www.explainthatstuff.com/flashmemory.html


Tasks & Worksheets

Your teacher may ask you to do one or more of the following tasks. Download and complete

Past paper based worksheet

All past papers legacy and current for this topic included. Presentation with "fly in" answers in the subscription only area


2. Complete the following worksheet on Memory

Learning Poster

1. Complete a learning poster (a single slide) in which all of the following terms is explained

a) Computer Memory, RAM, ROM, BIOS, Virtual Memory, Flash Memory

Research Power Point

1. Complete a research powerpoint that goes into the details and explains the workings of RAM and its use in a computer, particularly in the context of gaming and creating a an efficient computer system.

End of topic assessment

Well done on completing this topic!

Your teacher will direct you as to which task needs to be handed in

What to submit

-learning poster

-research powerpoint



Ensure you revise and go over your learning for this topic yourself in order to retain this information for your exam and beyond!

Take an interactive quiz!

Teachers - use this quiz on this particular topic to test students or adapt it with your own questions. Students can play individually or in teams against each other! It's free!

Quiz 1: Play the quiz!

Quiz 2: https://play.kahoot.it/#/k/5ef6492c-dc9b-4c2b-834c-9a0116f5fc01