Binary Numbers

Count the Dots #

The binary number system plays a central role in how information of all kinds is stored on computers. Understanding binary can lift a lot of the mystery from computers, because at a fundamental level they’re really just machines for flipping binary digits on and off. There are several activities on binary numbers in this document, all simple enough that they can be used to teach the binary system to anyone who can count! Generally children learn the binary system very quickly using this approach, but we find that many adults are also excited when they finally understand what bits and bytes really are.

Flipping cards

Activity description (PDF) #

Translations and other versions: #

Videos #

Photos #

An older version of this activity can be downloaded in PDF format here. The content is similar to the current version, but there’s some extra technical information.

Binary cards simulators #

More activities and lessons #

If you want to find out more #

Number converters and calculators #

Videos #

Additional resources #

Great Principles of Computer Science #

  • Recollection

ACM K12 Curriculum #

  • Level I (Grades K2) Topic 11: Understand how 0s and 1s can be used to represent information, such as digital images and numbers.