Teach Computing

Revision notes, activities, lesson plans, teaching ideas, and other resources for GCSE, A-Level, and IB Computer Science teachers and students.

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Device specifications

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Smart phone specs explained

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Software as a Service (Saas)

This short video gives an overview of Software as a Service (SaaS), which s...

Amazon EC2 - Elastic Cloud Server

Amazon Elastic Cloud (Amazon EC) is a good example of Infrastructure as a S...

Changeover notes

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CommandPoint CAD

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CAD+911 System

TriTech Software Systems is a company that specialises in Computer Aided Di...

London Ambulance CAD failure

The 1992 London Ambulance Service CAD failure is probably the most notoriou...

Washington State 911 Failure

A 911 emergency telephone system in Washington State and Oregon shut down f...

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3.1.10 Data representation

Binary tetris

Binary Tetris

Binary Tetris is a flash game designed to help teach students the binary number system. Players must flip bits to achieve the required number, or add up the bits to calculate the number being represented. I'd recommend asking students to turn their sound off before starting this!

Updated: 2015-04-07
Binary game

Binary Fun

This simple game challenges players to flip the right bits to create the specified number. The current total is displayed as bits are changed, and there is a timer to complete against. Students may be surprised to learn this game was created using Scratch.

Updated: 2017-10-17
Introduction to binary

Introducing Binary

The new-look BBC Bitesize site have extensive notes on binary numbers, with clear diagrams and examples of how they work and how they can be added. Several videos brighten up the content and key concepts are related to real-life situations - such as CPU word size. Later pages of the notes cover conversion between different number bases. The site also features short multiple-choice quizes to test students' understanding of the key concepts.

Updated: 2015-04-15
Hexadecimal game

Hexadecimal-binary matching game

This is a fun little matching pairs style game in which players must match decimal numbers with their hexadecimal equivalents. A good way of testing students' ability to quickly perform mental conversions. Click here to play.

Updated: 2017-11-05
Binary crosswords

Binary crossword activities

These two puzzles are a great way to test students' hexadecimal to binary conversion skills. They work much like a normal crossword, except that the clues are written in hexadecimal and the answers must be written in binary. Once complete, the crosswords make simple bitmap images if the 1s are shaded and the zeroes left blank. You can download puzzle 1 (answers) and puzzle 2 (answers).

These puzzles were created by Gary Kacmarcik at the Computer Science & Engineering for K-12 site - an excellent site which I recommend you visit. They are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Updated: 2015-04-15
Binary to hexadecimal conversion

Binary to hexadecimal

A worksheet that explains the "divide into groups of 4" method of converting binary numbers to hexadecimal numbers.

This was created by Gary Kacmarcik at the Computer Science & Engineering for K-12 site - an excellent site which I recommend you visit. They are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Updated: 2015-04-16
Image representation

B&W Pixelation

There are three versions of this excellent applet, designed for the University of Chicago's Introduction to Computer Science course to help students understand image representation in computers. In the first version, students simply enter binary digits to represent black or white pixels. In the second version students are introduced to the concept of a very basic file format, with the first two bytes representing the image dimensions. Students can also enter the data in binary or hexadecimal. The final version is even more complex, allowing students to specify the colour depth of the image, and requiring them to enter the appropriate number of bits for each pixel.

Overall this site is an excellent introduction to data storage and image representation, and makes a complex subject quite entertaining.

Updated: 2015-04-09
Image representation

Image Representation - Flash activity

This Flash activity lets students draw a simple bitmap image and represents it using a simple run-length encoding (RLE) algorithm in real time. Students can also important text representations of the compressed data and the application will draw the corresponding image. The web page is not in English but the application is still perfectly usable.

Updated: 2015-04-15