Binary Challenge

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In this activity, learners cut out 5 paper cards and label them with 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 dot(s) to explore binary digits. By only saying "yes" or "no", cards are counted or flipped over and not counted to understand how computers use only two symbols to represent many numbers (and all kinds of information) in binary. Activity includes step-by-step instructions with pictures, an explanation of the comuter science behind the activity, an online version, and optional challenges.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Five cards (around the size of a playing card) that are blank on one side and have dots drawn on the other side. They could be created using cardboard from an old box, paper (fold it over if the dots can be seen on the back of the paper), a folder, or craft supplies.


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Computing
      • Computer Science
      • Information Systems
      • Information Technology

Informal Categories

  • Computers


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • Google
  • Microsoft