Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Binary Lesson Plan

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Binary, and supports the standard of understanding that computers use binary numbers to represent information and analyzing this differs from base-10. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of  projects.


Display an image, or show a real example in your classroom, of a common binary system like the one below: 



Ask students: 

  • Observe the light switch. What are the two conditions you see here?
  • What other common systems have two conditions?


  • Read aloud the description on the Binary topic page.
  •  Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the following articles: “Did You Know” or “Gadgets”. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign Binary Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about binary while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a mini-tutorial explaining how using a binary system helps computers solve problems quicker than a base-10 system.
  • Make-a-Map: Compare and contrast the base-10 number system with the binary system. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a learning game in which players sort words and numbers into the 0-1 binary system. 

More to Explore

Computer Science Collection: Continue to build understanding around engineering and technology with additional topics, games, and teacher resources. 

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments