3-7 Lego Data Representation, Part 2

Today we will use our binary encoding and decoding skills to encode our own LEGO structures with binary numbers. Then we'll try to replicate a structure from a binary instruction table. We'll see that precision and accuracy are key in creating replicable instructions!
  • Students will learn why precise instructions so important. 
  • Students will learn how instructions need to be explained to computers.



YouTube Video

Secret Fortress Construction Challenge

Start with a LEGO building kit (9 LEGO blocks and a base piece) and the Secret Fortress Activity Handout.
Without letting other groups see, build a fortress and create a set of building instructions using the first chart in the packet. Then, create a legend to convert your instructions into binary code. Using this legend, you'll be able to create an instruction table in binary. When you finish your instruction tables, swap your binary instructions with another group and try to build each others' fortress. Did it work?

Wrap Up


YouTube Video

Check Your Understanding

Was any team able to replicate the original fortress exactly? How many were close?

If not, what was wrong with their structure? Wrong order? Wrong orientation?

Was there a fault on the original side in encoding? Or was it a fault on the decoders' side in decoding the information?

Were any of the instructions ambiguous?

What skills did you use to create a binary instruction table? What skills did you use to build a structure from binary instructions?

What was the hardest part? Why was it hard?

The process of creating instructions based on an idea and converting these English instructions to binary instructions is common in computer science. When a computer scientist is given an idea for a program, he or she starts by figuring out what task the program should accomplish. Then, he or she breaks the task down into a series of steps and create instructions to carry out each task. Last, these instructions are encoded into some kind of language a computer can understand, so that the computer can carry out these tasks!

Does this sound a little like what you just did? It should!