Computers are all about storing and moving information, but what actually is information? How do we measure the amount of information in a message?
This activity uses some intriguing variations on the game of 20 questions to demonstrate how we can quantify information content, which in turn shows us how to store and share it efficiently.
Activity description (PDF)
- Instructions for Information Theory activity (English)
- Italian Language Version
- French Language Version
- Turkish Language Version
- Greek Language Version
- Polish Language Version
- Portugese (Brazil) Language Version
- Russian Language Version
- Hungarian Language Version
- Slovenian Language Translation
- 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.
- Mordechai (Moti) Ben-Ari from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel has programmed the Twenty Guesses Binary Search Unplugged activity in Scratch which can be downloaded in a zip file of the complete set of activities. Please read the ReadMe.txt for documentation.
- If you want to find out more:
- Wikipedia: Information Theory
- Claude Elwood Shannon (April 30, 1916 – February 24, 2001), an American electronic engineer and mathematician, is known as “the father of information theory. Check the Wikipedia page on Claude Shannon
- Claude Shannon’s Experiment to Calculate the Entropy of English is aimed at determining the entropy of an English letter (the amount of information in bits that we obtain on the average when we learn one letter of English).
Great Principles of Computer Science [info]
ACM K12 Curriculum [info]
- Level I (Grades 6-8) Topic 9: Demonstrate an understanding of concepts underlying hardware, software, algorithms, and their practical applications.
New Zealand Curriculum [info]
- Mathematics Level 1: Equations and expressions
- Communicate and explain counting, grouping, and equal-sharing strategies, using words, numbers, and pictures.
- Mathematics Level 1: Probability
- Investigate situations that involve elements of chance, acknowledging and anticipating possible outcomes