Module #1

Intro to Computer Science

How do computers store information? Numbers, text, pictures, sounds… All of this using only 0s and 1s! In this module students learn the binary system and then work their way through the basics of data representation, with secret messages, coloring activities and more.

  • 1.1 Computer Information
  • 1.2 Zeros and Ones
  • 1.3 Bits and CDs
  • 1.4 Letters Over the Wire
  • 1.5 Pics and Pixels
1.1 Info

This is a very quick first lesson! In it students think about different categories of information that computers can hold – as well as different types of computers. Students are then told that this information is stored as a series of 0s and 1s, which will serve as an opening for the next class…

We now introduce the Binary System! All of the information that a computer holds is encoded by using 0s and 1s, starting with the rest of the numbers… Students will practice converting 5-digit binary numbers to decimal notation and vice versa, allowing them to count from 0 to 31 (ultimately, using only the fingers in one hand).

The 0s and 1s that a computer holds are called bits! A bit is the most basic unit of information that a computer works with, and each bit can either be 0 or 1. This lesson explores the physical process behind the storage of these bits, and the underlying mechanism where something has to alternate between two distinguishable states (0 and 1).

The internet! Millions of computers throughout the world are interconnected and communicate with each other, exchanging all sorts of information – including text. That information takes the form of bits (0s and 1s) that get sent through wires and other means. By learning about binary representation of letters, students get to exchange secret messages and find out how all this works.

1.5 Pics and Pixels
How do computers manage to represent images through binary numbers? Students further understand data representation by carrying out a colouring activity that shines a light on the concepts of ‘pixel’ and ‘colour depth’.