Watch Class Movie
Lab sheet & activites
Watch Class Movie
Teacher Prep Movie
Lab Materials Needed
Blockey Koa Crate
from Kea STEMCrate
- 1 Springy Spring Scale per student
Student Lab Sheet
Pacing Guide: Recommended time to complete this unit - 1 month
Instruction day 1 (pages ): Explore the Phenomenon
Lesson Objective: Students
Instruction day 2 (pages 44 - 46): Read and discuss
Summary: Introduce the article by meeting the authors.
Lesson Objective: Students meet the scientists who wrote this article about patterns and information.
Introduction: Let’s look at the cover of the new article, what do you see? What does the title say? Do you think there is a computer on that boat? I see a solar panel! I bet that could power a laptop she might have in that case. Let’s find out more about this article by reading about the authors.
Instructions: Look through the pictures of the authors first then read about each.
Ask: Look through the pictures of the authors, can you find which one is from the boat on the cover?
Example: The picture on the far right looks like her, Hanna Moore. She looks like she is holding a fish!
Ask: Both Evan and Jake are engineers, what does it mean to be an engineer?
Example: Engineers use math and science to invent, design or build something. Jake says engineers use computers a lot, I bet the computers could have programs that do calculations or help them design stuff so it won’t fall down.
Ask: Page 46 talks a lot about fish, I wonder how they relate to an article about computers! What should we name the fish at the bottom of the page? Finn?
Wrap-up: Get a sneak peek! Look through pages 47-82 and find one that is interesting to you. Share with your neighbor.
Instruction day 3 (pages 47 - 48): Read, discuss, and write
Summary: Solve the riddle and discuss patterns.
Lesson Objective: Students use reasoning to guess the answer to a riddle. Students discuss how languages have patterns.
Introduction: In order to move forward, we have to start by solving the riddle! This will be a tricky one so pay attention!
Instructions: Read what the mouse says on page 47 then read the riddle aloud. Remind students to write their guesses before speaking them aloud. Repeat the riddle twice and have students write as many answers as they can think of. Let them share their ideas and why in pairs or small groups. Students share their best answer and reasons for that answer with the class. Reveal the answer (technology) and give positive comments to students who guessed differently, but had evidence to support their answer. (Are students getting stumped on the riddle? An extra clue can be that it is a word used in the previous pages about the authors. What words do you see there that could fit with the riddle?)
Read about patterns on page 48. (Note: Some previously printed texts say there are 24 letters in the alphabet, obviously a misprint as there are 26, this is corrected in future editions.)
Ask: What phrases of the riddle are more helpful? Which are more puzzling?
Example: I think about computers or phones when it says “version one is replaced by version two”, but then it talks about wheels and fire so I know the answer can’t be a computer.
Ask: Does your favorite answer fit with every part of the riddle? Do your friends agree with your answer?
Ask: What do you notice that is similar between the different languages at the bottom of page 48? What differences do you see?
Example: I notice that they all use something like the letters we use in English, something small that you can fit hundreds of on one page. They all kind of look like squiggles. Their shapes can be different depending on the language, only Spanish uses the same letters that I’m used to reading.
Wrap-up: Pair/share prompt into class discussion: There are lots of types of patterns in our everyday lives besides language. What kind of patterns can you come up with? (Patterns can be designs, like polka dots, striped or plaid. Patterns can be an outline of something that is copied to make more of it, like a pattern to make a paper snowflake or a pair of pants. Stoplights follow a pattern: lighting up green, then yellow, then red. Dancing and music can be done in patterns. Etc.)
Instruction day 4 (pages 49 - 50): Read, draw, and discuss
Summary: Where do words get their meaning? How have other cultures expressed written meaning?
Lesson objective: Students discuss how letters and other markings can symbolize words and ideas. Students search for a symbol, count its occurrence and draw it.
Introduction: Before you learned to read, the letters of the alphabet were just as foreign to you as the rest of the writing we saw on page 48. The letters we use are still just shapes of lines. How do those shapes turn into meaning? (We give them meaning! We put letters together to create words that represent things, actions, etc. It’s how we communicate!)
Instructions: Read page 49 about using language as a pattern and have students write as many new words (4 letters or less) with the letters S, T, A and R as they can think of. Discuss the answers found as a class. Read page 50 and have students find the symbol for barley in the engraving. Students sketch the symbol for barley and count how many times it is found in the engraving.
Ask: Letters can be put together to represent words, those words represent ideas. Where did you learn what words mean?
Example: I learned words first with speaking, mostly with my family. Once I came to school I learned more words and how to write them from my teachers. People who speak multiple languages may have learned from lots of people!
Ask: Long words can be used to communicate a lot of things at once. Do you know any very long words? What is the longest word you know?
Example: I know some long food words, like watermelon and strawberry. My dad said he was “flabbergasted” once, but I’m not really sure what that means. My mom says my siblings and I are always up to “shenanigans” so I think that means getting into trouble.
Ask: Can you think of any other ancient cultures, besides the Sumerians mentioned in the text, that used symbols to represent real things?
Example: I know Egyptians used hieroglyphics (that’s a big word!) to draw their history. I know people indiginous to North America made cave drawings to communicate.
Wrap-up: Pair/share prompt: What is the longest word you can find on these pages? The caption for the engraving says it is a “record for barley distribution”, what do you think that means? (The government of the land was recording how much barley it was giving out, maybe to its citizens. Maybe it is like a receipt!) Use the pink margins to guess what the other symbols you see in the Cuneiform could represent.
Instruction day 5 (pages 51 - 52): Read, draw, and discuss
Summary: A code using lanterns is a part of our American history! How many codes can you make with two lanterns?
Lesson objective: Students read about Paul Revere’s ride and how he interpreted the lantern code to warn locals in Massachusetts that the British were coming. Students identify and create codes using lanterns.
Materials needed: Each student or pair needs a blue and orange crayon or colored pencil.
Introduction: Why are codes useful? (Codes can keep things secret if only a few people have the code, or they can help communicate with lots of people, like the English language.) Who might use secret codes to communicate? (The military or spies.) Have you ever used a code, like Pig Latin, to communicate something secretly?
Instructions: Read pages 51 and 52. Pass out blue and orange colors for students to color in their lanterns in different patterns.
Ask: What similarities and differences do you notice between language alphabets, pictorial symbols and lantern lights can be used to communicate?
Example: Same things (letters, images, or lights) can be rearranged to have different meanings. The patterns are all visual and are given meaning by humans. One of the main differences is the number of variations of the symbols (a lantern can only be on or off, there are 26 letters in the alphabet to rearrange and combine into various lengths, symbols could be infinitely created as long as the person reading it can understand what they represent.)
Ask: What are the advantages and disadvantages to codes like the English language, Cuneiform or lantern lights?
Example: The advantage of the English language is that the letters can be rearranged to mean everything we could need to communicate, the disadvantage is not everyone understands English. The advantage of Cuneiform is that a picture is easier to understand even if you don’t speak the same language, the disadvantage is that it doesn’t communicate much more than objects, English can be more descriptive. Lantern lights are advantageous because they can communicate very quickly across long distances, the disadvantage is that it is very limited in what it can communicate. The lantern lighter could only let them know that the British were coming by sea; no other details, like how many ships the English had, were communicated.
Wrap-up: Pair/share prompt: If you were still using this lantern system for an imaginary enemy coming to your town, what would you have the other two patterns mean? (I would have the two blue ones mean “they’re coming from underground” and the other pattern would mean “they’re coming from the air”!)
Can you think of things today that need to communicate quickly from far away like the lanterns helped with? (Computers, especially when using the internet!)
Instruction day 6 (pages 53 - 54): Read, discuss, and draw
Summary: Learn about binary patterns.
Lesson objective: Students discuss binary patterns.
Introduction: The lanterns we learned about were either on or off, one of two choices. This kind of code has a special name!
Instructions: Read pages 53 and 54. Observe and discuss the binary patterns. Students draw a soldier holding two lanterns.
Ask: What difference do you see between the two examples of fruit and cereal being used as binary patterns?
Example: In the fruit example the two choices are a banana and an orange, you have to choose one or the other. In the example of the cereal you can choose to have one cereal or no cereal.
Ask: How is the cereal example or number example similar to the lantern binary pattern?
Example: The lanterns were either on or off, there were only two choices. The cereal example is cereal or no cereal. The number example is either the number 1 or the number 0. The dark lantern is not doing anything, kind of like the zero or having no cereal.
Ask: The lanterns worked well to communicate to riders on the other side of the river, saving them precious time, but what limits did the lanterns have in terms of the number of people that it could communicate to?
Example: The lanterns can only communicate to those that could see the lights. For people who are too far away, the lights aren’t enough. That’s why they needed riders like Paul Revere!
Ask: Look at the binary pattern at the bottom of page 53, it is only made of two choices, but it is very long! How does that help communicate?
Example: I see lots of different combinations of ones and zeros, the combinations could be infinitely long to mean lots of different things.
Wrap-up: Create your own pattern! Students use the pink margins to create their own binary pattern choices. (Shapes, animals, sounds, movements, anything!)
Instruction day 7 (pages 55 - 56): Read, write, and discuss
Summary: More room means more options for binary patterns.
Lesson Objective: Students expand their ability to make patterns using binary by showing how many different codes can be created with three spaces.
Introduction: The sounds coming out of my mouth have meaning to you, you know what I’m communicating because you understand English. Binary patterns need the same thing, they need code to have meaning!
Instructions: Read page 55 and have students answer why both pattern 2 and 3 have the same meaning. Read page 56 and have students find all eight combinations they could make with on or off lanterns.
Ask: How would having three spaces for a binary pattern be more helpful than having two?
Example: It allows for more possible communication. There are now eight possible ideas that could be communicated as opposed to only four.
Ask: What difference is there between a soldier holding up two lit lanterns and a computer having two binary spaces? Is there an advantage the computer has?
Example: Human eyes need to be able to see both separate lanterns, from far away they might be able to see that a lantern was lit, but it might be hard to see that there are two of them from very far away.
Wrap-up: Pair/share prompt: Give both “1” and “0” their own sound! What would each combination sound like?
Instruction day 8 (pages 57 - 58): Read, graph, and, discuss
Summary: Bits give us space for patterns, more bits mean more possible patterns!
Lesson Objective: Students learn how the number of possible patterns doubles each time another space for the pattern (a bit) is available. Students graph the amount of patterns possible for 1 through 8 bits.
Introduction: Start with a YouTube video about computers using the binary system to work
Instructions: Read page 57 and discuss the term “bit”. Use the graph on page 58 to demonstrate how the amount of information able to be transmitted increases greatly the more bits are used. Draw a box to the appropriate height over each number on the horizontal axis. Students answer the question at the bottom of page 57 about if they would prefer their own secret code to be longer or shorter.
Video: Binary BrainPOP 3 minutes
Ask: A bit is a space for information, you can think of that information as being one of two things, either on or off; a one or a zero. We have made many patterns already, but computers need to communicate very long and complicated instructions, they need more than what we’ve worked on already. What about how many patterns we can make as we add more bits?
Example: As we add more bits the amount of patterns we can make gets higher and higher! It doubles each time a bit is added.
Ask: Why do you think computers use 0 and 1 as their binary pattern instead of numbers like 1 and 2?
Example: It is easier to think of it being like a light switch, on or off, rather than 1 and 2 because both of those numbers have value to us.
Remember a binary code of 1-0-1 is not one hundred and one and it's not a total of 2 as if we were adding them together, it is closer to representing on-off-on as far as a computer understands it.
Ask: How many bits would you need if you wanted to have enough code for the alphabet? What about upper and lowercase letters? What about periods, question marks and exclamation marks?
Example: I would need 5 bits to give me 32 possible combinations to code for just the 26 letters of the alphabet, that would leave me room for a few extra characters. But if I wanted to do both upper and lowercase letters I would need at least 6 bits for 64 spaces.
Wrap-up: Use the pink margin to describe what a bit is in your own words.
Instruction day 9 (pages 59 - 60): Read, write, and discuss
Summary: Make it mean something! Give each of the eight codes an action you can do in a future activity.
Lesson Objective: Students learn about bytes and how they relate to letters they type on a computer. Students create meanings for their 3-bit codes to be used in a future activity.
Introduction: We’ve talked about how combinations of bits can be used to hold information, but those ones and zeros aren’t useful unless they represent something!
Instructions: Read page 59 and have students write what a byte is in their own words in the pink margin. Read page 60 and have students think about what they want to write. Students create their own meanings for eight possible codes, theirs should be at least somewhat different from others around them.
Ask: For our activity we will not be using a whole byte. What is the difference between a bit and byte?
Example: A bit is a space for information, a byte is a group of eight bits or eight spaces for information.
Ask: You get to assign meaning! For this game we want the meaning to be an action, but that could be a lot of things! What kind of actions can you think of that we can do in this classroom?
Example: They should be something everyone can do (or at least try!) It could be to make a noise, do a jump or spin, mark a smiley face on their hand, etc. It’s kind of like a dare, but only fun ones you would want to do too!
Wrap-up: Pair/share prompt: Share your ideas with neighbors around you. If yours are too similar consider changing something about your actions. You can change it as many times as you want until the next activity!
Instruction day 10 (pages 61 - 64): Hands on Activity: 1-2-3 Play Paku-Paku!
Summary: Learn how to play Paku Paku, an origami game that picks a random code that corresponds to a silly action!
Lesson Objective: Students demonstrate how codes can have meaning by playing a game where a code will give them a silly action to do based upon a code.
Materials needed: Scissors (1 per student)
Introduction: We’ve assigned our codes meaning, now let’s see which ones we get to do with our friends!
Instructions: Very carefully tear out page 62 (or have copies printed and ready to pass out). Cut out the square, outer edges only, the rest will be folded. Demonstrate how to fold Paku Paku and have students work together to fold it correctly. Demonstrate how it moves, pick a student to play once with at the front of the class. Find a partner! This can be done in groups of 3 or 4 but the first time might be easier with just two students. Pick one person’s Paku Paku and follow the directions. The person’s Paku Paku you are playing with is who is assigning the meaning to the codes, they can be found in their journal. After playing back and forth with one, switch to the other person’s Paku Paku and the new meanings. Bigger groups mean more people are watching the silly actions to laugh together, smaller groups mean more people are getting to do silly actions.
Ask: Did any actions come up more often than others?
Ask: Did you get to all eight options on each Paku Paku you played?
Wrap-up: So how exactly does this relate to computers? Read page 64. Microscopic magnets are what makes your favorite computer game or YouTube video!
Do you have any questions so far? Write questions you have to your teacher so they know if you are not understanding anything.
Instruction day 11 (pages 65 - 68): Read and discuss
Summary: How can ones and zeros make a picture on my computer screen?
Lesson objective: Students understand that complicated information requires more bits. Students demonstrate how a computer might convert ones and zeros into a picture. Students use sound to perform binary codes for letters of the alphabet. Students try to crack the binary code just by listening!
Introduction: Today we are going to compare a couple different ways of decoding binary patterns; one way with color and another way with sound!
Instructions: Read page 65 and explore the chart. Read pages 66 and 67 then color the squares according to their code (use colors if possible instead of black, white and grey) to reveal the picture. Read page 68 and have students pair up to find sounds to represent ones and zeros. Try tapping out the letters S, T, E and M in binary. After practicing, students pick one letter, perform those sounds and see if their partner can guess which letter it is. How quickly can you do it?
32 billion is such a big number that if you started from 1 it would take you 1014 years and 8 months to count to it! And that’s just how many bits you’d need, remember every time you add a bit you double the amount of patterns you could use. So if a movie like Frozen is put onto a DVD it would have 32 billion bits of data on it and the DVD player is able to read all of it and help you sing along to Let it Go. Think about that next time you watch a movie!
Ask: Which way of decoding the bits was fastest, coloring in the squares according to their code or listening to your partner sound out the code and figuring out which letter they were using?
Example: It took a bit of practice, but I was able to figure out the sounds faster because within the first few sounds I could narrow it down to two of the four letters and then I could figure out which one of the two it was by the time they were done.
Ask: Which technique was a more accurate way to communicate the data?
Example: I was able to get the picture colored perfectly, with the sounds we messed up a lot.
Wrap-up: Perform your sound codes for the class!
Extra: use the pink margins to write which way you prefer decoding binary and why. What was something you learned in this lesson?
Instruction day 12 (pages 69 - 70): Read, discuss, and draw
Summary: Use drums to represent the voltage of electricity used to send binary signals.
Lesson objective: Students practice translating binary patterns into drum beats. Students use visual cues representing voltage to determine a binary code. Students are comfortable translating into and out of binary using a variety of methods.
Teacher Note: If you have access to drums for this lesson it would be helpful, but not necessary.
Introduction: Our goal today is to have you know how to take binary and translate it into something you understand. You can also take something you understand and translate it back into binary!
Instructions: Read page 69 and demonstrate how to tap out the binary beat using two drums or other surfaces if needed. (Students could use a desk surface by having a hand tap represent a low pitch and a pencil tap with the other hand represent a high pitch.) Have students practice tapping out the beat at their desk or with drums if available. Read page 70 and fill in the empty squares at the bottom of the page with ones and zeros as represented by the orange line.
Wrap-up: Your name in binary! Use the binary conversion website https://www.convertbinary.com/text-to-binary/ to type your name in and find the code. Try tapping it out!
Instruction day 13: Micro-bit Morse Code Activity
Editor's Note: This lesson is an extra activity for in-person learning using the micro:bits provided at your school.
Summary: Use micro:bits to send and receive morse code messages
Lesson objective: Students practice using morse code to communicate.
Introduction: Have you ever heard of morse code? What do you already know about it? Who uses it? Today we’re going to communicate in morse code using our micro:bits!
Instructions: Use the directions on the STEMTaught website for this activity: https://www.stemtaught.com/g4-microbit-morse-code-transmitter. Helpful tips are there if needed! Once coded, students can use a morse code chart at the top of the page to convert words into dashes and dots to be transmitted over their micro:bits to each other.
What do you want to communicate? A joke? Your favorite food?
Instruction day 14 (pages 71 - 72): Read and discuss
Summary: Learn how scientists use binary code to find and identify fish in need of protection.
Lesson objective: Students see practical applications of using binary code.
Introduction: Scientists use simple codes like binary to do all sorts of projects. Let’s learn about how one team is using it to keep track of endangered fish.
Instructions: Watch the STEMTaught video about tagging endangered fish with codes in order to count and locate them. Read pages 71 and 72. Use the pink margins to write the most interesting facts about each fish.
Video: Protecting Endangered Fish with Binary Code, 5 minutes
Ask: What kind of equipment did you notice the scientists using in the video?
Example: Water thermometer, radios, solar panels, radio frequency (or PIT) tags, antennas used to find the PIT tags once they’re in the fish. That’s a lot to fit on a boat!
Ask: Why do you think the thermometer they are using is going to take a new temperature reading every second? How is that helpful?
Example: The water temperature could be different depending on where they are. If they know the temperature of the water when they find a fish then they can figure out what kind of temperatures they are likely to find fish at in the future.
Ask: Why is it important to keep track of endangered fish?
Example: It is important so you can see where the fish live, how many there are of them and when they are migrating to spawn (have babies). That is all information you need to see if the population is getting bigger or not.
Ask: What is the most surprising fact you learned about these two types of fish?
Example: I know fish get big in the ocean, but I can’t believe there is a fish in the rivers that gets as big as 100 lbs and is longer than me!
Instruction day 15 (page 73 - 74): Read and discuss
Summary: When new fish come into an environment, they can disrupt the balance that has existed for thousands of years.
Lesson objective: Students discuss invasive species and their impact on native species.
Introduction: There are lots of reasons a species could become endangered, let’s find out what happened to the Pikeminnow and Razorback Sucker fishes.
Instructions: Read pages 73 and 74, observe the photos and drawings.
Ask: Can you think of another way to describe what an invasive species is?
Example: An invasive species is a plant or animal that was brought to a place it doesn’t belong. Basically humans introduce something into a place it would never have travelled to naturally.
If an invasive species comes into a new environment and is able to survive then it might crowd out other species that are similar to it because the native species aren’t used to the competition for food or space.
Ask: Bass and trout may have been more tasty for modern humans to go fishing for, but why was it a bad idea to bring them into a river they didn’t already live in?
Example: When the bass and trout were put into the Colorado River the adults ate the eggs of the Pikeminnow and Razorback Sucker so their population dropped by a lot and now they are almost extinct. Before humans did that they lived in that river for thousands of years and fed the native people who lived there.
Ask: What do you notice about the photos and drawings?
Example: Some of the symbols are easy to understand, like people and animals, but I’m not sure what all the circles mean. I like seeing the way the native peoples carved their village from the rock, I think I even see a tower!
Instruction day 16 (page 75 - 76): Read and discuss
Summary: Take a trip down the river with the scientists and into the area they are trying to protect.
Lesson objective: Students learn more about the equipment scientists use to find the endangered fish. Students learn more about the ancient culture of the area where the fish live.
Introduction: Let’s take a trip down the Colorado River and see what we can find!
Instructions: Read pages 75 and 76. Watch a STEMTaught video about the fish scientists journey down the river.
Video: Protecting an Endangered Species with Technology, 6+ minutes
Ask: Why does each fish need their own binary code? Why couldn’t they just give all the fish the same code? Is it important to distinguish individuals?
Example: They want to know which fish is which because they want to track the age of the fishes to see how long they live. They also want to know the difference between fish that hatched here in this river and the fish they release that were hatched at a fish farm to help boost the population.
Ask: By collecting this data, how are the scientists able to help the endangered fish?
Example: If they have information about how the populations are doing then they can help convince people that they need to be protected.
Ask: What challenges did the scientists have to work with in order to do their research on the river?
Example: Sometimes their boat gets stuck or their equipment doesn’t work and they have to fix it before they can go back out looking for fish again.
Wrap-up: Pair/share prompt: Was there anything surprising you saw in the video? Compare and contrast the carvings and pictographs they found on the rocks versus graffiti you might find in a city, what is similar and what is different?
Instruction day 17 (page 77): Hands on activity: coding on a grain of rice
Summary: Make your own tiny codes!
Lesson objective: Students relate to the technology and coding used by real scientists. Students use science tools to create codes.
Materials needed: (per student) 1 Meeka microscope, 1 Toby tweezers, 1 sharp pencil, 1 chunk of clay, 1 small vial for finished rice and 16 or more grains of rice, optional string suggested for students to make vial into a necklace.
Introduction: You’ve made binary patterns with two bits and with three bits, now let’s see how many you can make with four bits. We need enough patterns to track lots of fish!
Instructions: Start by having students fill the squares with as many 4-space patterns as they can make using ones and zeros. Students who finish early can help those who are getting stuck. Read the directions at the bottom of page 77 together then ask the first two Guiding Questions. Have students grab materials and get started.
Video: Teacher video to help run this lab
Ask: Why do we need a microscope for this activity?
Example: We need the microscope in order to see what we’re writing on the rice.
Ask: How is the clay going to help us?
Example: The clay will help hold the rice in place while we write otherwise it will be too hard to hold it in place under the microscope, it’ll move too much.
Ask: This technology works well for finding fish because the scientists can float over the fish within the river. What kind of technology could you imagine to tag another type of animal, such as a condor or rattlesnake?
Example: We would need some kind of GPS signal to find them because they could travel far distances or snakes could hide under things so they could be hard to find. I know condors are often tagged with big numbers written on their wings so that scientists can identify each individual using just binoculars.
Wrap-up: Extra! Write a word on an extra grain of rice and pass it to your neighbor. Can they read it? What is the longest word you can fit on a grain of rice?
Instruction day 18 (page 78): STEM Vocabulary
Summary: Review the words and ideas learned in the article.
Lesson objective: Students review words and ideas learned in the article.
Introduction: There were a lot of new ideas in this article, it helps to go back over what we’ve learned and make sure we understand it.
Instructions: Read off the blue words and look back through the article to find them again. Students write something interesting about each vocabulary word or define it in their own words. Students can share what they found interesting with their neighbors or the class.
Ask: We learned about bytes, have you ever heard of a megabyte?
Example: Lots of things I’ve downloaded are in megabytes; games, apps or music for my electronics.
A megabyte is around 1 million bytes! It takes a lot of ones and zeros to make your favorite song play on your device.
Ask: How can an invasive species cause a healthy species to become endangered?
Example: It can take its food or take its space. In the example of the fish the bass would eat the babies of the pikeminnow and sucker fish. An invasive species changes the balance of the ecosystem.
Ask: How is the code 0-1-1-0 different from the number one hundred and ten?
Example: The code has it as 4 separate numbers with the one and zero each meaning different things. One hundred and ten is a value, like I can count as high as 110.
Wrap-up: Pair/share prompt: What did you find most interesting about codes in this article? (I liked that could be used for both secrets or for science. I also didn’t know the alphabet was a code!)
Instruction day 19 (pages 79 - 80): Hands on activity: Cookie Coding
Summary: Learn how to keep track of your codes!
Lesson objective: Students discuss and practice how to lessen the number of errors they can make when creating binary codes.
Introduction: When we count with our normal number system we start at 0, work our way to 9, then when we need to add a second number to go higher we make the last number go back down to zero (after 9 is 10). This is a smart way of keeping track of binary codes too!
Instructions: Read pages 79 and 80, go over the two rules to keep track of codes. Watch the STEMTaught video about this activity.
Video: How to Cookie Code, 1 minute
If we were trying to write all the codes we could make with 4 spaces (bits) and we kept them in order, this would help us write them without making any accidental duplicates or missing any. We can make 16 codes with 4 bits, just like we did with the fish and the grains of rice! Use your pink margin to write down all 16 codes of ones and zeros but this time we’ll do them in order using these rules.
The first code would be our four empty boxes, that represents 4 zeros (0-0-0-0), when we add a 1 to make another code, which place should we put it in first according to Rule 1? (The space all the way to the right.) So the second code would be three zeros with a one at the end (0-0-0-1). Where should we put the 1 for the third code? (In the next open spot on the right.) According to rule 2, what happens when we do that? (We have to remove all the ones to the right of it in order to “eat the cookies” to the right.) Let’s write a few on the board and see if you can follow the pattern.
1st code: 0-0-0-0
2nd code: 0-0-0-1
3rd code: 0-0-1-0 (we added a number to the left so we have to start over with nothing to the right of it!)
4th code: 0-0-1-1
5th code: 0-1-0-0 (we added a number to the left so we have to start over with nothing to the right of it!)
Now try this with cheerios, M&Ms or some other treat! Have students put treats in the spaces to represent the ones and have the empty spaces represent the zeros. Whenever they need to add a treat to a left square they get to eat the treats that are to the right of it! Have them write down each code as they make it. Can they get all 16 codes this way?
Ask: How does following a pattern help us to not make mistakes?
Example: It means we do it in order and that helps to make sure we don’t miss a code or do the same one twice. It gets hard to find all the possible codes when the number of bits gets higher, but this method helps to make sure you get all the correct codes and they’re organized.
Instruction day 20 (pages 81 - 82): Read and Discuss
Summary: Crack the code in order to open the treasure chest!
Lesson objective: Students demonstrate understanding of using binary to represent numbers.
Introduction: We use binary to represent things. In today’s activity we are going to use binary symbols to represent numbers that can be bigger than one or zero. Let’s see if you’re smart enough to crack the code and open the treasure chest!
Instructions: Use the website https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/184239942 to access this activity. We recommend pressing the 4 corners button at the top right above the program for “Full Screen Control”. Start the program by clicking the green flag. Students use the “1” “2” and “3” keys to change the numbers in the first, second and third places on the chest in order to guess the code. Once guessed, the treasure will be revealed! Click the green flag in order to play again and press the Z key to scramble and get a new code. The chest can be any combination of numbers, not just ones or zeros, use the binary code at the bottom of the program in order to decode the answer!
Ask: How can you use the dashes and circles at the bottom to help you crack the code?
Example: If you give the furthest right space a value of 1, the second right space a value of 2, the next space a value of 4 and the last space a value of 8 then you can add every spot that has a circle in order to come up with the correct number for that spot.
Instruction day 21 (page 83): Writing Workshop
Summary: Show what you’ve learned by writing about various patterns and then creating some of your own!
Lesson objective: Students demonstrate understanding of the use of codes and patterns to communicate information. Students develop two different ways of coding and compare the benefits of one code over another.
Introduction: We learned a lot of amazing ways codes are used in this article. Show me what you’ve learned!
Instructions: Read both questions on page 83 together and give parameters on how long you want their answers to be for each question. Let students flip back through their books in order to refresh their memories. For the second question they should work with a partner to develop two different ways of coding a word or sentence. For the writing portion they should describe both coding ideas, write about which code they think will work better and why.
Ask: When deciding which code will work better, what are you using to make that decision?
Example: I think that writing our code will work better than tapping the code because you can not be sure of what you heard sometimes, if it is written then it will be easier to double check that you have the correct code. I think that using 4 bits instead of three is better because it gives us more options and makes it harder for someone else to crack.