Some students are put off by the more mathematical aspects of Computer Science (which is a shame as there is nothing too difficult to stop any student from taking it at IGCSE / A Level / IB Diploma!) Good fundamentals of understanding the key concepts can be taught early and built on over time so that students are very familiar with things like the different numbering systems and the use of bits/bytes etc.
I find that these more math focussed lessons need an engaging starter which is where Binary Birthdays comes in as a nice starter! (any "magic" tricks that use some sort of algorithm are incredibly useful as well for other topics in Computer Science!)
When students enter the room, display the first slide of Binary birthdays on the board (PowerPoint and Google Slides versions can be found here.)
Now, do the magic trick where you ask one student (at a time) to look at each slide and tell you if the date of their birthday is on it.
For every slide the student says YES, add up the number in the top left hand corner (i.e. the powers of 2) and these numbers from the top left corner of every slide the student says yes to will equal the date of the students birthday. You can try and do this without looking at the board.
This should get the students' attention and now you can explain how it works based on binary.
For an extension of this task, you could ask the students to create their own (on 4 by 4 grids to stick into their notes or for them to create their own presentation).
Some students will be able to work out how and why this trick works but others might need further explanation (Once a few students have completed it you could put the slides back on the board to help those who need some extra guidance).
Once students have completed their grids, they can then have a go at the trick themselves.
This now allows students to look at Base 2 and is a good opportunity to show the Binary Counter Video on Youtube (below)
The teacher can now explain how to convert numbers from binary into base 10 numbers.
A few examples can be done with the class as a whole until the students get the hang of it. Now students can work in pairs to either create their own binary questions (with answer sheets), use question sheets the teacher has already created, or move onto testing understanding with mini whiteboards or even a kahoot quiz!
Educator, Teacher and Lover of all things Business and Computing related