Second Graders Crack Computer’s Code with “Binary Bracelets”

Second Graders Crack Computer’s Code with “Binary Bracelets”

Beginning technology students in second grade used hands-on materials to learn the foundational principles of computing and lift the veil of technology, revealing the building blocks of how their iPads, computers, and other devices work.

Students learned about binary code, the basis for all computer calculations, by creating “binary bracelets.” First, using a conversion table, the students translated the initials of their first and last names into the corresponding binary code. Then, using beads to represent the binary code, they created binary bracelets representing their names.

“This project turns an abstract idea into a step-by-step thinking and making process,” said May Lyle, who teaches technology to grades 2-8. “When abstract knowledge becomes concrete, students are better able to recall and extrapolate information. Just as importantly, students earn a firmly rooted sense of ownership and accomplishment.”

Students tackled the project with gusto. “They were excited to learn that 8-bit patterns contain ‘hidden’ meanings that they then used to create their own message,” Ms. Lyle said. “They were eager to customize their own colors and expand the project to include middle initials and more.”

Second grade technology students took their work to the greenhouse, doing a cross-curricular bean planting project that will challenge them to graph their plant growth data. They are also venturing into programming using Scratch and Blockly. Returning to the binary concepts, they will create basic electric units to demonstrate the two values of on-switch and off-switch.

“These projects are emblematic of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s approach to technology instruction and our teachers’ understanding of child development,” said Liam Webster, Director of Technology. “Students must be developmentally ready to approach concepts and tasks. We start with the basics and build from there.”