Say it better with Boolean && binary

Happy 2017-18!   I’m back to school today which means back to sharing on Wednesdays and back to a routine that involves being at home more than being away.   It was a fantastic summer getting to meet, learn and share with so many great teachers near and far.  Of course I came home with a few ideas in the peculator and two of them are today’s topic…..using Boolean && binary intentional and to-so-obvious ways in our classroom labs.

In late July I had the privilege to lead a 1-Day workshop for APCSP at the CollegeBoard Annual Conference Pre-Conference.  While there and during the morning my precious friend, Sandy from Chicago, stopped by to see me and hug necks.  [Sadly no fun picture available b/c I totally forgot she and I needed to do a photo — next time, Sandy!  Picture the sweetest friend with a gorgeous smile and add to that a heart for AP, AP We Projects, and all things CS education, and you have our most fabulous Sandy C.]   I was talking about binary when Sandy popped in so during the break and as we were chatting she told me about learning about using binary to ASCII for representing alphabet letters to create hidden messages.  She learned this at one of the colleges where she led a PD session for APCSP.  Let me show you then it will make more sense….

The almost QR code looking poster is a vertical acrostic for our newest team tag line, Sails Up!   We are the Buccaneers so our athletics department has created a Hoover-style pirates flag and are using Sails Up as a new branding phrase.   The poster above is an acrostic for Sails Up! so consider horizontal Row 1 is the capital S converted from ASCII to binary then represented with orange (on) and black (off) in school colors.    Sandy shared with me that the college she visited had messages in their floor tiles with their school name or mascot name.   The idea is not to explain the hidden messages to students but instead over time as they learn about number systems and conversions that it would “appear” to them as the student comes to realize the message within the representation.  LOVE THIS IDEA!

While pondering over what Sandy shared and thinking about how I could message in binary, I had the idea to make some signs using Boolean operators rather than simply put up posters of what the Booleans represent.   My school library has a poster making machine which can enlarge things to 24″x36″ and larger — the bigger the better for things like this but use what you have and be creative.  On Monday I put my ideas to making some computational artifiact posters and had a little Fixer Upper JW’s lab C133 style.   All my files are provided at the bottom of the post including ones for the exam dates for this year and Gina’s light bulb Big Idea file.

If you are getting ready to spruce up your lab, think about ways to say more with Boolean and binary and in your school colors.   I used Word for making my posters.   Edit my docs using the Paint Can “fill” feature and Font Color “text” feature.   For the ASCII to binary poster I created a table with 8 columns so one per bit then as many rows as needed for the acrostic phrase.   My letters only required 7 bits but you get the idea.  I filled each cell in the table with the color needed.  I hope these ideas get your wheels turning.

The school year is here!  Students will be in my room today.   I have 2 APCSP classes and 1 APCS-A.   It’s going to be a great year and guess what — we are starting with unplugged activities because my lab is being reimaged, and I told the tech guys no hurry for me as we have several days of important things to learn before we start on the devices in class.   I’m trying something new in CS-A today so if it works I’ll share next week.  Fingers crossed!

Have a great Wednesday.  The files are below so please edit, use, improve and be blessed!   Take care, Jill


Here are the Word/PPT docs for most of my posters ~

binary-Boolean_wall signs

Exam Dates Signs


Here are some images from my C133 Fixer Upper project ~