143 Binary Beads - Valentine's Day - SCOPES Digital Fabrication

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Abigail McCune
Informal educator
Abigail McCune is an Education Consultant for the Fab Foundation. Abigail’s work encompasses managing and supporting the FF educational outreach project SCOPES-DF and the associated website, content development, engagement and outreach, and strategic program planning. She is also a STEM… Read More


In this lesson students will learn a very basic form of computer coding. We will discuss binary code and the basics of how computers communicate. They will create their own binary code chain with a message of their own choosing. This is an easy and fun activity to do for Valentine’s day but can be adapted for any classroom need!

What You'll Need

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Beads
  • Binary Code Alphabet


Lesson Materials

The Instructions

What is Binary Code?

Explain to the students that binary code is the most basic form of coding.

Welcome the students.

Ask the question of the day: How do computers talk to each other?


Explain to the students that binary code forms the basic layer of all computing systems and is the primary language of digital technologies. Binary code uses combinations of these two numbers to represent numbers, letters, or other types of information.


This is how computers communicate!



Making a message chain/bracelets

Students will create their own binary code message.

Show students the Binary Code Alphabet Key. (This can be passed out individually or shared on a screen at the front of the class.)



Have students pick out 3 pipe cleaners and two colors of beads.


Each student will decide which color bead is going to represent the number 1 and which will represent the number 0. (optional – it is helpful to have a third color to act as spacers)

Write out the message of your choice on a piece of paper.


Some Valentine’s Day examples:

I love you

Be Mine


Best Friends Forever


Using the Binary Code page, students will determine their beading code on the table before assembling the chain. 



Place beads in order on the pipe cleaner (each word should have its own).

Once all beads are on students can link them together by making circles or hearts!



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