Stage 1& 2: Intro to Computer Sciences—-Binary Code

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by brett jordan

I did the “Hour of Code” like many other teachers and students a couple of weeks ago.  The website also provides resources to go beyond the first hour.   There is an “Introduction to Computer Science Course K-8” that is about 20 hours (20 lessons or stages).  I thought that over the Christmas holidays that I would try to get through it, since I have a bit of time.  If you and your school are looking for a scope and sequence for teaching computer sciences, this looks like a great resource!  Besides teacher lesson plans, there are accompanying worksheets, videos for students to watch, and browser-based computer games for students to apply their understanding. For teachers in the United States, there is prize-money to be won if you establish the program in your school.

Today, I started the “20 hours”.  Stage 1 (Lesson 1) was called Introduction to Computer Sciences and the introduction was essentially learning about the concept of Binary Code.

Binary Code is what I know as using “zeros” and “ones” to program.  I am familiar with it looking like the image at the top of the page. took the ASCII Code: Character to Binary and instead of using 0,1  turned it into paper strips with squares.  A filled square (white) means “1”.  An empty square (black) means “0”.

You can see that on the Binary Decoder Key (available as part of the resources provided by Click the “lesson plan” button), the letter “V” looks like this:

Binary Decoder Key

In binary, it would be 0101 0110 (black is 0. White is 1  Thanks to Omnia for explaining this to me. 🙂 )

Binary Strips small

The above worksheets are provided to create binary codes on.

I gave it to my boys to create a binary of whatever they wanted for their brother to solve.  It was no surprise to me the words they chose to code!

LOL Troll Binary

The 20 hours is gamified so students will be able to track their progress through winning trophies.  This is my progress so far.

Day 1 Progress

I accomplished Stage 1 and Stage 2 today.  Stage 1 was the binary work.  Stage 2 (The Maze)  was the repeat of the Angry Bird Game exercises I did in the Hour of Code.   I did 2 out of the 20 hours today. It took me a lot less time, being an adult and the repeat of the Angry Birds. My next lesson (Stage 3) will be about Computational Thinking.

Here is the entire scope and sequence of the 20 Hours/Stages/Lessons:

  1. Introduction to Computer Science
  2. Maze (Hour of Code Activity)
  3. Computational Thinking
  4. Graph Paper Programming
  5. Artist 1
  6. Algorithms
  7. Artist 2
  8. Functions
  9. Farmer 1
  10. Conditionals
  11. Artist 3
  12. Song-writing
  13. Farmer 2
  14. Abstraction
  15. Artist 4
  16. Relay Programming
  17. Farmer 3
  18. The Internet
  19. Artist 5
  20. Wrap-up

The exercises in Italics are off-line lessons that involve teacher and paper.  The ones in bold are the online games.

It’s been a good start and rather fun!  I am not that geeky so the thought of computer programming doesn’t thrill me; however, in this day and age, there isn’t going to be any sector that won’t need computer programmers. I reminded my boys of that.  I love music and they definitely need computer programmers in music.  Whatever our students love, there will be need of people in that industry who can combine their passions with computer programming.


I am thankful to for providing these resources freely around the globe.  The USA is hoping to jump-start computer programming in their country by providing these resources and prize money.  There may not be prize-money for you if you’re not in the USA (and definitely not for me in Switzerland!) but the kids will be the real winners.


About Vivian

Vivian @ChezVivian is a Canadian-born Chinese, currently living in Switzerland. She has also lived in Hong Kong and Indonesia. She holds a M.S. (focus: Educational Technology Integration), B.Ed and a B.A. and graduate studies in Kodály and Orff music pedagogy. She is an elementary school classroom generalist, but has also taught as a music specialist, ESL/EAL and also in Learning Support. Most of her teaching career was in International Schools in Hong Kong. She is excited about the IBPYP and the possibilities of using technology to Inquire. Recently, she has been looking at the opportunities that computer programming gives to put #TECHXture back into the hands of children. In other words, technology need not be just about looking at screens. It can be about building things with our hands and computer programming levels-up what children can do with the things they build---encouraging higher thinking skills. She is a Coetail Post-graduate Certificate grad ('13-'14), a former Coetail Coach and one of the co-founders of #CoetailChat. Her blog home curates her assignments for Coetail and her M.S. graduate studies about Educational Technology integration and anything else educationally-related that she feels inspired to write about. Her twitter tagline sums it up: "Mom to 4, Mentor, Educator, Musician (in that order)".
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2 Responses to Stage 1& 2: Intro to Computer Sciences—-Binary Code

  1. Omnia says:

    Nice work but the ascii code of letter v is 0101 0110
    the dark square is a zero and the white one is 1
    it’s like the light switch you open it means you make it on so there is a light so on is a 1
    off is return darkness ,, off is a zero