Monday, August 4, 2014

How a computer represents information

In the first full CS Unplugged lesson, students learned:
  • That computers represent all information as 0’s and 1’s (and why)
  • How whole numbers are expressed in binary
  • How characters are represented in ASCII 
  • A magic trick!
We had planned to project this lesson until we learned that not all of the teachers had ready access to projection equipment at their schools and that the power in the classrooms was not sufficient to run a projector, in any case.  So we jettisoned the planned digital presentation and used blackboard and handmade flip-cards instead.

Blackboard at start of the lesson

We made flip-cards to use in teaching binary place value
The binary number 10101 is equivalent to the decimal number 21
Learning to count in binary

Students caught on quickly and were eager to share

Part of the ASCII Chart

Highlights of the lesson included: counting to 31 on one hand, and magically transmitting the month in which a student was born to Louise.  When the students learned the mystery code, they practiced it on one another. Working in pairs, they transmitted their age to their partner and then received their partner’s age in return.

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