Kids start by writing a word on a card. Below each letter, they write the corresponding number using an encoding table (a=1, b=2, etc). Below each of those numbers are 5 holes, representing 1 bit and labeled 16, 8, 4, 2, and 1. After determining which numbers add up to the letter’s code, those numbers are punched out, and the binary code is revealed.
The card is then fed through our reader. Letters are spoken out loud as they pass, and the full word is read when the card is pulled all the way through. Holes are detected using paper clips and aluminum tape. While optical sensors would be more reliable, we feel it’s important to keep the “magic” out of technology when using it as a teaching tool. The paperclips form a physical connection to the foil tape when a hole has been punched, and this can be directly observed.
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.