In this lesson snapshot, a high school computer science class explores the story of the electric tabulating machine, an example of a computer in its most basic form. Students examine one piece of the machine in close detail: the punched card plate, which was used to digitize the information collected from the 1890 U.S. Census. They wonder about what the plate is used for, how it functions, and if it uses electricity. After reading an article and answering some of their own questions, students reflect on the benefits and harms of information digitization.
Download this resource to discover one example of how you might use the QFT for primary source learning in a computer science or STEM classroom. Read Tracy Brown’s lesson plan, the outcomes from the lesson, and her reflections afterwards.