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Science Simulations, Technology Simulations, Engineering Simulations, Mathematics Simulations

Lesson 1: What’s That Say?

Did you ever wonder how a written letter on a computer can be converted to a digital format using only “0” and “1”? Or how an image can be changed to digital data? In this lesson, you’ll find a simple way to change letters into two numbers to store and send a message to another person. Get ready to send your message not in a bottle, but in a digital format.

Doing the Science

  1. Start the Rosetta Phone Simulation by clicking on the "Sim" tab.
  2. Think of a five-letter word.
  3. Click the "Code" button at the bottom-left of the screen. Use the 25 black boxes in the upper left-hand corner of the screen to make an image of the first letter. Click on a box to change its color to white to form the letter. Make sure the height and width of the letter fills the entire box area and that your letter is centered in the middle of the boxed area.
  4. Note that as you click on a box a numeric code is generated in the middle of the screen, which is titled, "Build Code Here." This is where your image of the letter is being "converted" to a digital code. When you have the first letter created, record the code for the letter in Table 1.
  5. Click the "Done" button when you complete building your first letter. Create your code for the second, third, fourth, and fifth letters of your word as you did in steps 3 and 4. Make sure to record the numeric code for each letter in Table 1.
  6. You can also use the "Output Code" button to send the information you recorded in Table 1 to a file for saving or to a printer.

Table 1.


Numeric Code

Five-letter Decoded Word

Do You Understand?

  1. The image of each letter you chose was "stored" in a binary code. What does the phrase "binary code" mean and how was this conversion accomplished?

  2. Name one benefit and one limitation of converting letters to a numeric code.