ICT / Computing

Published on January 14th, 2015 | by What2Learn

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Counting in binary

One of the requirements of the new curriculum is an understanding of how computers understand and store data. Central to this is the understanding of how for computers everything boils down to the binary system. In this task students will develop skills in converting between binary (base 2) and decimal (base 10) number systems, and will learn how to count in binary. The following presentation and printable resources provide you with a free to use (and download) activity for introducing this complex element of computing science.

There are only 10 types of people in the world:
People who understand binary,
and people who don’t.

A suggestion: You can start the lesson with the puzzle shown to the right on your board and see if anybody can answer it at the start of the lesson and, if not, at the end of the lesson.

Preparation for delivery

As with all elements of computing, make sure you are comfortable with this task yourself before trying to deliver it! Also make sure you have sufficient copies of the student worksheet and the binary number cards to provide one for each student. The student worksheet could be completed electronically but they will need paper copies of the number cards. The number cards will also need to be cut out.


Suggested delivery

Length of unit: 1 lessons (though this could be extended e.g. through use of the sprite design worksheet below).

Lesson presentation

Worksheets and printouts

Student worksheet:

Binary number cards:



Extension task – designing sprites:

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