'15-'16 Encoding Text

I would like to see sample work from other teachers or from code.org.

The creation of protocols is a central idea of computer science. I like the lesson as is, but I will also use David’s idea of a “class protocol”.

I like the challenge areas that push students further here – many of my students have learned about ASCII last year in ECS and in other CS classes – I’m hoping the hands-on sending messages and advanced topics will be of interest to them

I agree. Having additional resources which give ideas for other encoding options would have been useful. I think many students will be puzzled initially, then just default to this basic option.

The format of this lesson enables the students to develop the protocol before seeing the protocol used in CS. It takes the mystery out of how the actual protocol was develop while reinforcing the concepts from the previous lessons.

I think that at the beginning of this lesson we may discuss as a group what “standard punctuation” we would like to include in our protocols. I know this may make the process easier for some but I think the overall planning will be the same regardless of whether we are providing them some hints or not. I am interested in seeing if the students will choose to encode numbers or not.

If they all default to the 1-26 for A-Z (which is exactly what I did), I might challenge them to develop a different one on their own.

A question I have is whether or not people plan to provide some questions or prompts for groups or if you think they should all think of them on their own. There are some of my students who would have no problem doing that, but (as I am sure everyone finds) I have a few that would sit there and say they don’t know what to ask.

I like david_ellich’s suggestion of having a message on the overhead projector when the students come to class and having them decode it. I may do that as a follow up the next day. I also like tscholtterback’s idea of doing a warmup binary puzzle for students to decipher so they are reminded of how binary works. I think this will be a helpful review, especially if I encourage my strugglers to use their Binary Flippy Doo. :0)

I suspect there will be a number of similar answers. This seems to be quite time consuming as far as the actual writing of the protocol is concerned. Maybe I could have students produce binary lists for them to keep and use those.

So students protocols possibly look like:
Upper case A - Z = 1- 26
Lower case a - z = 27 - 28
special characters … blah blah …
and so on.

I like how in this lesson students get to develop their own protocol and not just jump into ASCII as the only way. I think we will be referring back to this lesson a lot when we continue to talk about how the internet works.

Again, these two lessons are so well tied together that I will be using them just the way they are this time around.

This lesson and the one that follows it will really push the comfort zones of my students. I plan on giving my students some etra time on these two assignments as the level complexity, in terms of what students are expected to generate, seems to be increasing .

I love the idea David’s idea of developing a class protocol to wrap up the lesson. It will take a bit more time, but it will help develop a sense of community.

How is the simulator working for people? I am having some issues with it… If a students sitting next to each other they show up in the same lobby but as soon as they move away it has issues…

Hi there,

I sent you a private message to get started on debugging your particular issue, but if others have experienced something similar and identified the issue, please chime in!


I like how these lessons have an easy to follow progressions and make it very clear the purpose of the next step. As I am teaching each lesson, I can see the realization in the kids’ faces that they “get it”. Even kids who were not so sure what “they got into” at the beginning of the year and were a bit lost are now contributing and making connections. This is a great way to bring the kids toward the ASCII table. I’ve taught ASCII table before and noticed that those kids who did not go on to AP usually had trouble grasping how the table works. Even some kids within AP didn’t understand it’s purpose or use. I think I will run the lesson pretty much as is, but maybe add a few more things they can work on at home on their own. One thing that I am thinking of for the future (when we get into coding) is to add a coding project that will encode/decode a message using an ASCII table. This can be combined with encryption units so the kids get a taste of cryptography.

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Really looking forward to this one. I am hopeful some of my students will come up with unique protocols.

Great lesson! Uber-challenging for the kids!

My students really got into this lesson. This one was the first one that the kids really tapped into their creative ids to provide some excellent artifacts. Once they realized they could do better than just mapping each character’s “position” to a binary number (i.e. listing a = 1, b = 2 and so forth), they enjoyed wrestling with how to most efficiently encode characters. Very enjoyable to watch.

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I have found that the concept of protocols, with agreement about the rules on the sending and receiving end, hits home with the students.

Also, I took the ASCII and went to UTF-8 as an expansion on the idea to international environments. It was extremely interesting to the students to go from (1) binary to decimal takes care of numbers to (2) ASCII expands binary to text to (3) UTF-8 expands binary to international text. Maybe it was because we have so many nationalities represented in this school, but the kids were very interested in this as it was unfolded.

A post was merged into an existing topic: '16-'17 General Discussion for Lesson 1.7