This summer, as part of GoogleServe, I volunteered in a local school to teach kids about the importance of mathematics. This was part part of a larger program organised by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF).
I had 90 minutes, to introduce myself, talk a little about Google, and then spend the majority of the time teaching a topic of my choosing. Not knowing anything about teaching 8th graders I went to the Internet to find some material.
I quickly found cse4k12.org, and the excellent YouTube series by csunplugged.org. I decided I would teach about counting in binary. The csunplugged videos showed how to introduced this material in a way that seemed fun and got got the kids to work out the concepts on their own. I decided to mix the teaching with worksheets from cse4k12.org (to reinforce what the kids just learnt). Since I only had ~90 minutes to cover a lot, I took what I found on cse4k12.org and simplified their activities. I went ahead and created new worksheets, and am providing them here today for others to use. The rough schedule I used was:
- 10min Intro to counting in binary, with kids holding up bits (similar to this video).
15min Work on this “Counting In Binary” worksheet.
10min Representing text (again similar to this video)
10min Representing images with binary.
15min Using the “Bitmaps” worksheets to encode their own images, and if time allows swapping encoded images with each other to decode.
All in all, this worked quite well. I learnt a lot, and was happy to see the class engaged! I will certainly be taking part in activities like this again.
P.S I found printing all sheets double sided worked really well. Oh and no computers needed! Put those laptops away.