All data on computers is represented as digits - that's why we call them digital devices!
The digits on computers are incredibly simple - they have just two values (usually written as 0 and 1), because it's cheaper and faster to build devices that way.
Using this two-digit (i.e. Binary) system is the basis of all data stored on computers, and all data transmitted on the internet.
The Binary Representation activity explores how it is possible to represent all sorts of things - numbers, letters, dates and more - using such simple digits.
At the same time, we'll be reinforcing some basic facts from mathematics, and getting a new view of our own decimal digit system.
- If you aren’t familiar with this unplugged activity, review the in-person version of the lessons.
- Work out your birth month, or a month you want to use, in binary i.e. ‘no, yes, no, yes, no’ for October.
- Optional: Ask participants to make a set of binary cards as a task prior to the session, so they can experience binary cards first hand.
- Optional: Instead of using the interactive binary cards, you could use a document reader to demonstrate binary representation.
Using a document camera is closer to the way that it would be done physically in a classroom; if you use the online interactive, you should emphasise that in practice it’s good to have a set of cards, and at least hold up a set to your camera to show what the online version is simulating.