The binary number system plays a central role in how information of all kinds is stored on computers. Understanding binary helps to unravel the mystery of computers, as students begin to understand that binary digits represent on and off. Binary cards can be used to introduce the binary number system. Students can see the connection between binary digits represented as dots and the corresponding decimal number. When cards are placed in sequence students can create a binary number displaying cards as on or off. Students explain how a standard system of encoding is used to represent numbers, text and other special characters.
Flow of Activities
All software, music, documents and any other information that is processed by a computer is stored using binary.
Computer data is represented with binary, a number system that uses 0s and 1s. Binary digits can be grouped together into bytes (8 bits).
The binary system is based on the power of 2, the progression being 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, etc. In contrast, the base 10 system progresses by multiples of 10: 1, 10, 100, etc.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is a 7-bit character set containing 128 characters. The upper and lower case English letters from A to Z are represented by binary numbers (eg 01100001 is a, and 01000001 is A). ASCII is only used for the English language.
Hexadecimal is a shortcut for representing binary. ASCII and Unicode are important character sets that are used as standard.