Synapse Friday Focus: The Intel Museum, Santa Clara

Binary Codes

After lunch at a nearby park in Atherton, we headed to the Intel Museum, where we toured the museum and participated in a class about binary code. Working with beads, students gained an understanding of how information is stored in computers. We explored how transistors and switches handle information using binary notation. Something that has only two states, like a transistor or switch, can be referred to as binary. Students learned that the transistor’s “on” state is represented by a 1 and the “off” state is represented by a 0. Specific patterns of 1′s and 0′s generated by multiple transistors can represent letters, numbers, colors, and graphics. We had the opportunity to see this first-hand when we expressed our first and last initials using binary notation. After we were done, students had key chains with their own binary code. We concluded our day by exploring the Intel Museum.

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