First time with this lesson - 1.7 Encoding and Sending Formatted Text

Ok, I am a bit confused about the internet simulator for this activity. The simulator shows the students ASCII, Decimal and Binary. ( I know each of these can be turned off.) Where is the challenge in understanding the mapping between the Decimal and/or Binary representations of the ASCII characters if these characters can be seen?

I also need a bit more explanation on how to incorporate the formatting protocol into this activity.

My students played with this activity yesterday and I plan to pick up with it again on our next class meeting.


@carole_black Before your students use the internet simulator for the lesson, make sure they create a protocol (their own set of rules) for encoding and sending formatted text.
Once they do create a protocol, they should be able to interpret a message sent between two groups.
One challenge is to have one group decode the message with ASCII set to off to see if the protocol created works.
I hope this provides some clarity.

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could there possibly be a way within the different simulators we have used … to be able to turn off certain access tabs for our students since they have joined our class? For example on this lesson being able to turn off the translations so students only see what we want them to see. So they aren’t typing in the code and seeing the answer already…

@dhuff As far as I know, there is now way to do that other than giving the students rules on how to use the simulator and hold them accountable. @baker Am I correct in saying that this would be an option that would need to be engineered?

Hi @dhuff and @carole_black,

There is no way currently for you to be able to control the internet simulator settings as a teacher but you can definitely tell students which things to have on or if you want.

The big thing for this version of the internet simulator is that its not really meant to test a students understanding of turning binary into ASCII. Once they see that ASCII can be represented in binary, the lesson is actually most focused on creating a protocol for sending formatted text. Protocols for formatted text include something like HTML which is completely written out with ASCII characters. The binary only remains in the window so that students continue to get that reinforcement that there is a connection between all these different representations.

Hopefully that helps clarify things a little bit. Feel free to shoot back any questions you may have.


Thank you all! The lesson went much better today since I had a better understanding of the purpose and direction of the lesson. My students were excited about the protocols they developed. It was really fun to see them discuss their protocols and have success with sending them.

We moved on to Lesson 8 on the Internet afterwards. That is a great lesson!



I seem to be stuck on the same original question. The lesson asks the students to create formatted text. Can someone please show exactly how to do this on internet simulator. We have “played” with the bit chunk size but how do you make a word look “blue” like the lesson wants? A teaching tip video would have really helped here. Please help.

so another question on this lesson… there was a part where you wanted them to code bold, colors, underline ect… Which they all came up with their own method if they didn’t know HTML… but what I was wondering is there not a way for them to test these with in the simulator?

@adrian_williams, @dhuff: The internet simulator does not support formatted text. I asked my students to interpret the message received and write it in their journals in the specified format.

thanks for the info. If it is no problem could you give me a sample of ascii protocol that maybe you did with the students or they made up? If i see the code maybe it will click. I just am not visualizing it yet. Thanks

@adrian_williams: Here is a protocol that a student group came up with:

I hope this helps.


thanks so much. It really did. In addition to me finally getting it to click in my own brain. Maybe we should reevaluate the wording in this lesson for some of us “slow” teachers. Maybe a teacher tip video?


I had my students use Google Docs to show what the sentence should look like. They worked back and forth between the tabs and it worked just fine.

Thank you. I needed this to help me grasp the formatting as well.

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This example was a huge help! Thank you for sharing. Student samples, examples in general, and videos are a great help to us “newbies”. We also appreciate everyone’s teaching ideas and supplement ideas.
Many thanks!


I am teaching this lesson today and the sample was a huge help…thanks for sharing!

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Looking at this lesson I am slightly confused. When typing the ASCII what symbols do you use? Do you use the character code or the actual character?

You use the actual character. Students can type on their keyboard as usual, but they will see the binary there as well. It reinforces the idea that binary is behind everything without making students necessarily look up the binary for every character.

Hope that helps!

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This lesson has been the most confusing by far. I would really appreciate a video, either for how to teach the lesson or one that explains what to do for the students. Because of the confusion, we are taking two class periods for Lesson 7.

Based on the instructions in the lesson plan and activity guide, my students were trying to recreate an entire matrix for a new way of communicating messages!

I will pass on your request to the team!