I found this article in the latest edition of American Scientist online. It’s an interesting and reasonably brief look at the history of programming languages. It also goes into the four basic types of programming languages – declarative, functional, object oriented and imperative. It talks about things like comments, expert opinions of what are and are not good languages – experts disagree believe it or not – and a variety of other related topics.
I think that this article alone has the potential to spark a wide variety of conversations in computer science classrooms. Take a look. There is information about obtaining permission to duplicate the article for classroom use at the bottom of the page of each article.