Wednesday, 2 July 2014

In a world of zeros and ones, are you a 0 or 1?

I was undertaking a MOOC just recently and had the opportunity to revisit binary numbers. As a Mathematics teacher and lover of all things to do with numbers I couldn't pass up this chance to have some fun with some of my students. We have a small group of students who are part of the APE (Academic Program for Enrichment) program so I thought they would be the perfect group to do some activities with.
Firstly, I created this little video as an introduction to the idea of binary numbers. It's purpose wasn't to teach the concept but more to showcase how an iPad can be used to create something (these students have all been given an iPad to use as part of the APE program).
The students were all given the opportunity to be a bit and become part of a byte. We worked together to do some conversion of numbers from our decimal system to the binary system.
They then practised doing some conversions themselves with the assistance of the BinaryGame app for their iPads 
We then looked in simplistic terms, letting a = 1, b =2 and so on up to z = 26, so to get the understanding that every number, letter and character can be represented by a binary number. The students then went about writing their name, birthday and a sentence in binary code.
We then looked at the idea of a Pixel being on or off (1 or 0). The students were given a set of binary instructions to follow in order to produce a picture.
They were given a grid, via google drive, and then using the app PDFCabinet ( they were able to create the picture.

We also spoke about modems and their purpose. We discussed how we can use sound to demonstrate on or off (high note or low note) to send a message. The students were able to play around with garage band and use music to send a message.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to experiment with a few different concepts/ideas. The students enjoyed being able to use a few different apps and being able to make use of their iPads.

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