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Age Range: 11-14
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D&T
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Binary numbers| Maths lesson plan worksheet & activity

Use mathematics to explain how devices can be on or off

Through investigating binary numbers and their role in representing electrical devices as on or off, students will see mathematics in action.

Students will get to explore the technology behind the Nintendo Wii and apply this knowledge to design an interactive 'tag' game. The activity not only enhances their understanding of communication methods and technologies but also hones their critical thinking and independent investigation skills. This hands-on approach makes maths both tangible and relatable, sparking their interest and demonstrating how integral maths is in everyday life.

This is one of a set of resources developed to support the teaching of the secondary national curriculum, particularly KS3. It has been designed to support the delivery of key topics within mathematics.

As part of the ‘Time for a game’ scheme of work, this activity provides an electronics systems context for students to explore infrared technologies. Other activities include Inputs and outputs of design and Electromagnetic spectrum.

Activity: How use maths to identify households that will be most affected by fuel poverty

In this activity students will investigate the use of binary numbers.

Students will work in teams to represent different numbers through standing (for 1) or sitting (for zero). They will brainstorm applications for binary numbers and delve deeper into selected applications. Each step is designed to maximise engagement and learning, making maths a challenge rather than a chore.

Download our worksheet for a detailed lesson plan for teaching students how to use maths to explain how devices can be on or off

The engineering context

Understanding how binary numbers operate in electronic devices lays the foundation for a future career in engineering. Binary numbers play a fundamental role in the field of engineering, particularly in computer and electrical engineering. They form the basis of all digital systems, including computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices.

Suggested learning outcomes

By the end of this activity, students will have a solid understanding of binary numbers and their applications in electronic devices. They will appreciate the role of maths in technology, improving their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. This activity also fosters teamwork and encourages independent investigation, equipping students with key skills for their academic journey and beyond.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

You can download our step-by-step instructions below as both a classroom lesson plan and a PowerPoint presentation.

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