Last weekend I went to Greenman festival to perform my Bright Club comedy routine. As I was already there, I was put in contact with the people at Science London. They would be at the festival running sciencey craft activities for grown-ups and children and wanted some ideas for craft activities.
Together we came up with the binary beads activity. The aim was to teach people about how binary works, and why it’s useful. We came up with the idea of having people make bracelets with two different colours of beads (representing 1s and 0s) which represented the ASCII code for their initial. Sexy right?
The beads were made from triangles of magazine, rolled up on tooth picks and glued (much like this tutorial). After each person had made their beads, they then threaded them on embroidery thread and voilà! The binary initial bracelet was made. The sheets that explain binary, and provide a table of which pattern goes with which letter can be found here if you want to run the activity yourself.
The activity got lots of people intrigued. It was fun seeing grown ups excitedly telling their children how binary works, and depending on the age and levels of sleepiness of the child, seeing the children really engage too. We sent plenty of girls and boys away with their initials in ASCII code strung around their wrists and necks on brightly coloured thread. One Dad came in with his two sons who each made a bracelet. He then began making a bracelet for his daughter whilst at the same time commissioning the sons to make him a bracelet too, a whole family of binary beaders!
I really had fun teaching people about binary. And it was so rewarding seeing an activity that I had designed being brought to life and having people engage with it. I will definitely be taking part in more Science London events in the future. Plus I came away with a pretty nifty bracelet myself.