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What is the Internet? How does it work?

In technology class, fourth graders learned about what the Internet is (a network of computers connected to each other) and how the Internet works. After thinking about what we already know about the Internet, students watched a BrainPop video to learn about the specifics of the Internet. 

One of the coolest facts the students discovered during our classes was that you can go to a website simply by typing in its IP address! Try this one: 208.99.177.171

Students learned many new terms. Here are some examples of the terms we discussed in class (from www.brainpop.com and www.code.org):

IP (Internet Protocol) Address—A number assigned to any item that is connected to the Internet

ISP (Internet Service Provider)—Companies that provide internet service to users for a monthly fee


DNS (Domain Name Service)—The service that translates URLs to IP addresses

URL (Universal Resource Locator)—An easy-to-remember address for calling a web page

Internet—A group of computers and servers that are networked together

Network—A group of things that are connected to each other

Packets—Small chunks of information that have been carefully formed from larger chunks of information

Servers—Computers that exist only to provide information to others

Clients—Computers that go to servers for information

Fiber-Optic Cable—A cable that uses light to send information (often shortened to “fiber”)

Wi-Fi—A wireless method of sending information using radio waves

After the video, students engaged in a fun-filled Internet race of their own! They broke down messages into packets, delivered individual packets either by wireless or fiber optics to the server, put the packets back into comprehensible messages, and discovered that both methods of sending information over the Internet have their own strengths and weaknesses! 

Here is a student-filmed video (Thanks Aly!) using one of our iPads of 4B students in the race to deliver the message. Students had so much fun that a group of 4A students even suggested making a commercial to show how fiber optics is a much better way to go online than wireless (unless you have to be mobile)! Enjoy!