Information Technology Education
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Assessment, Lesson Plan, Unit of Study
Middle School
Art, Binary, Lesson Plan
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:

Write Your Name In Binary

Write Your Name In Binary


This activity is designed to introduce students to binary code by having students artfully create their names in binary code using different colors using a Google Sheet.


Concerning the image of the binary code at the top of the lesson. 

License: CC0 Public Domain

kai Stachowiak has released this “Binary Code” image under Public Domain license. 


As of September of 2022

In Exploring Computer Science Strand 2 says: 

  • Problem Solving with Computers
    • Students will learn how computers input, output, store, and process information. Students will gain the importance of solving problems, and/or automating tasks with the aid of computers, as well as a basic understanding of the algorithms computers use.

Under Strand 2, Standard 3 says:

Standard 3

  • Students will discuss how and why binary is used to represent data in a computer.
    • Describe how binary digits (bits) are stored in different media
    • Understand the binary system or pattern for counting up to 8 digits
    • Convert numbers between 0 and 128 from decimal to binary and vice versa.
    • Describe how real-world phenomena such as numbers, characters (ASCII), or images(RGB) are digitized and represented in a computer.

This lesson will teach the students how to write their names in binary using different colored cells on a Google Sheet. It can be cross curriculur with an art class. This lesson is very basic as it is for students in the 8th grade exploring computer science class.

Thumbnail credit: Kai Stachowiak has released this “Binary Code” image under Public Domain license. 


Background for Teachers

  • To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of base 2 binary code
  • You will need a basic understanding of Canvas
  • You will need a basic understanding of shading in Google Sheets.


Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

Learning Intentions:

  • Students will understand how the ones and zeros of base 2 binary can be used to create the letters of the alphabet.

Success Criteria:

  • Students will be able to create their name in binary using shaded cells in a google sheet.


Step 2 - Planning Instruction

Step 2 Planning Instruction

Student Background Knowledge

This is an introduction to binary code. This will be brand new to most students.

  • Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of how to use shading in google sheets. 
  • How to turn assignments in on canvas
  • A knowledge of the doubling sequence will be helpful, but is not strictly necessary.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Students may shorten their names or use initials if necessary.

Step 3 - Instruction

Step 3 Instruction

For this lesson I would start by having a discussion with them where I ask "How high can you count on your fingers on one hand?" After a bit of discussion I would tell them that it's possible to count to 31 and show them this website. Go through the counting with them. Model it and have them do it. The students will get really excited when it comes to number 4. Be prepared for that.

After you have gone through the numbers with the students explain that binary can also be used for the alphabet. Show them the Binary Alphabet. Explain how A is the same code as 1, B is the same as 2, and so on.

Demonstrate the assignment - Write your name in binary. Explain that binary can be represented in many ways, not just ones and zeros. Download a copy of the google sheet and demonstrate how to complete the assignment.

  1. Type your name in column A. Each letter gets it's own cell.
  2. In cell G2 fill it in with a color that represents the value of 1
  3. In cell H2 fill it in with a color that represents the value of 0
  4. For columns B through F - demonstrate how to fill in the cells with color to represent the binary code for the letter in column A. Do this for as many letters as necessary while checking with the students for understanding.
  5. Give the students time to finish the assignment.
  6. Make sure that they know to turn it in on canvas when finished.

All images in this sections were created by David Thacker - The author.

Step 4 - Assessments

Step 4 Assessments

The assignment will be assessed based on the assignments that are turned in. I use a rubric that I created on canvas, and I have created. You may use and adapt this rubric if you would like.

The attached rubric was created by David Thacker - Author