Happy Binary Birthday! Create a Coding Necklace

Binary code is the mathematical language of 0’s and 1’s. It is the way computers talk. Each time you play a computer game or look up something online, the screen is all represented in binary code.

When it comes to communicated numbers, we humans talk in the decimal system, but computers talk in binary language. We count from 0 to 9 and then start all over again. In binary code, only 0’s and 1’s are used.

Coding workshops and classes have sprouted up all over the world to help teach children how to think and problem solve using binary code. This generation is eager to jump in to learn more. For a fun STEM activity, help your children create a necklace that represents their birthday in the language of computers!

Materials:

3 different color beads, bowls to sort them

A string for the necklace

Scissors

A binary code chart

First, separate your beads into colors to represent 0 and 1. Select a third color to act as the divider between the code. Label each.

What is your child’s birthday as written out by the decimal system by MM/DD/YY?

Consult the binary code chart* to reveal your child’s birthday in binary language.

Tie a knot at one end of the necklace, and have your budding computer engineer lace the necklace with the corresponding beads.

Success! Looks great!

This simple exercise gets little minds thinking in code, opening their minds to the fact that computers talk and share information much differently than us!

Happy Binary Birthday!

*This chart is a condensed binary code chart. In binary code language, there are 8 placeholders for the 0’s and 1’s, otherwise referred to as an 8-bit sequence. For example, the number 3 is actually “00000011”. But for the sake of working with little ones, this conversion chart begins with two placeholders, and then grows as the numbers get larger.