Get to know the bits and the bytes

Topic: Binary system, ASCII Code

Abstract: The stimulus is a painting of two images in black and white of the famous painter Pablo Picasso. Then they used paper to draw the black colour. They learn about the binary numeral system in computers, and the ASCII Code.Then they formed with themselves a series of 8 bits (8 students for 8 bits) holding the white papers and the black ones, according to the ASCII code creating the word CAT.

Learning objectives: The students identify the concept of binary bitThe students identify the Byte concept
The students identify the ASCII code

Teachers’ profile: (team transversality): Computer Scientist

Advisable age of students: 13+   (Flexible according to the curriculum of specific country)

Total duration:1 teaching hour

Materials: Projector, paper and pencils

Phase 1   10 min   Visualisation

The stimulus is a painting of two images in black and white of the famous painter Pablo Picasso.

The students identified the two colours and they recalled other famous paintings of the painter like Guernica. They talked about Guernica and what it symbolizes. In that painting identified many colors.

They made a comparison between the two paintings of Picasso in the terms of colors.

Phase 2   10 min   Artistic action and experimentation

The students used paper to draw the black colour.

Then they formed with themselves a series of 8 bits (8 students for 8 bits) holding the white papers and the black ones, according to the ASCII code creating the word CAT. For each letter the 8 students selected the appropriate series of papers (black and white) consulting the ASCII code.

At the end they drew a cat.

Phase 3:       25’     Reflexion and debate

We talked about the binary numeral system, a method of mathematical expression which uses only two symbols: typically “0” (zero) and “1” (one), compared to black colour and the white colour respectively since 0 stands for no electricity and 1 stands for electricity. It was explained that the binary system is used by almost all modern computers and computer-based devices, as a preferred system of use, over various other human techniques of communication, because of the simplicity of the language.

They learned that there is a code, ASCII Code, that according to that every character (letter, number, symbol) is transformed to a series of 8 bits, which forms a byte.

The students seemed to understand the above and to answer correctly to the questions of the teacher at the end of the class. They enjoyed their participation in forming the bytes a lot

Comments, possible derivations, and prolongations of the proposal: The bits and the bytes can be used also to the explanation of the serial and parallel connections in the computer.

Get to know the bits and the bytes

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