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Virtual Science Fair

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Beading In Binary

Have science fun as a family! Complete activities with parental supervision.

  • Beads in at least three colors, two colors for binary code and another for spacers (we used perler beads, but any beads will work)
  • String (a piece of about 12 inches long for a bracelet, 24 inches for a necklace—may need to be longer or shorter depending on what beads you use)
  • Binary code key (provided in the photo carousel)
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  1. On a piece of paper, spell out your name or initials, spreading the letters across the paper.
  2. Underneath each letter, use the key to write out the binary code pattern for that letter. For this code, the black box represents the number 0 and the white box represents the number 1.
  3. Tie a knot at the end of the string big enough so the beads cannot fall off of it; it may require double or triple knots.
  4. Choose one color to represent the black box/number 0 and another color to represent the white box/number 1. Choose a third color (or multiple colors) to act as a spacer between the letters.
  5. Take your piece of string and string on the beads.
  6. When you’re done, tie your string into a bracelet or a necklace and wear it around!
  7. You don’t have to stop there—make more for your family!
  8. Be sure to take a picture or video to share in the Facebook comments on the Buffalo Museum of Science or Tifft Nature Preserve pages!

What’s it all about?

Binary code is a way to represent words and letters in a way computers can understand—just like language! This code is made up of patterns of two numbers—0 and 1. Every number is a bit and every pattern of 8 numbers is called a byte. Each byte represents different letters or symbols, allowing information to get passed via computers.

Things we use everyday use binary code, like DVD and Blu-Ray disks, computers, phone calls and more!

Try It!

If the black squares are 0 and the white squares are 1, try to decode the message below!

01101001 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 01110011 01100011
01101001 01100101 01101110 01100011 01100101

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