Lesson 3.3: Data Representation with Binary, Part 1

Learning Objectives:
• Students will learn how to count in binary.
• Students will learn how to convert between binary and base ten numbers.
• Students will practice decoding using binary.

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In everyday life, we typically represent numbers in base 10. The ones place (the digit farthest to the right in the number) represents the number of 1s in our number. The tens place represents the number of 10s in our number. The hundreds place represents the number of 100s, and so on. For example, the number represented by "123" is made of one 100, two 10s, and three 1s: 100 + 2x10 + 3x1 = 123.

Binary is a different system of counting and is the way computers take in, process, and store information. It's also referred to as base 2, since we need a new place for every multiple of 2 instead of each multiple of 10. In order to understand how computers work, and to make them work better for us in the future, it's useful to learn the binary number system.

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Activity 1 Setup: Working With Binary

Five students will hold the cards representing binary numbers. Students will stand at the front of the classroom so the rest of the class can see the binary numbers. Make sure the cards are in descending numerical order (greatest to least when read from left to right). Using the cards, go over the concepts in the CS Unplugged Binary Dots Activity to give the students a visual understanding of how binary works, and prepare to do this on your worksheet.

Activity Part 1: Working With Binary
Now that we have covered how to use the binary cards to make numbers, go through the worksheet, Working With Binary to make sure you're on the right track. Watch:

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Lesson 3.3 Wrap Up:
Reflection:
• What did you learn today? What are the differences between the base 10 and the base 2 systems?
• Why do computers use binary instead of base 10?
• Can you convert the binary numbers in the "Binary Birthdays" video below to base 10?