Introduction to Binary Numbers


Binary numbering system is the basis of how information is stored on a computer. By understanding how the binary number system works, it demonstrates how the computer reads the binary system.

Rationale (Why we are doing this?)

  • Understanding number system and exploring number in other bases
  • Computer only count by 0 and 1 so we need to learn how to count and read in a binary system
  • How computer read data


  • Flashcards with 1 dot, 2 dots, 4, dots, 8 dots, 16 dots

Context and Background Knowledge

  • Computer only reads 0 and 1 therefore creating a numbering system
  • Multiplying
  • Understanding and looking for patterns using base 2

Curricular Connections (Competencies and Content)

Math – counting, matching, sequencing, and sorting
Developing a pattern for adding

Explore + Understand + Create (Key elements/Lesson Design/Format)

Using the flashcards, demonstrating how binary numbering system works. Place all the cards and flip them so the dots cannot be seen. This would be represented by the binary system 0. When the first card, on the furthest right is flipped, this would be represented by the binary system 1 and the value is also 1. When two cards are flipped, the binary number would be 11 and the value would be 3. That is because the first card value is 1 and the second card value is 2. When they are added, it becomes 3. When the second card is shown and the first card is not, the binary system is represented by 10. This has a value of 2. When all three cards are shown, the binary system is 111 and the value is 7. This is by adding all the dots together.


  1. How would you represent 1, 3, 5, 6, 10 in binary system?
  2. How would you represent 12, 15, 25, 27, 31?
  3. What happens when number is greater than 31?