Task 3, Option 3 : Pixel binary template cards (unplugged)

Task 3, Option 3 : Pixel binary template cards (unplugged) YEAR 6

Here is the link to the lesson sequence using this resource: https://www.digitaltechnologieshub.edu.au/teachers/lesson-ideas/using-binary-to-create-on-off-pictures


This resource is used for an unplugged coding and decoding activity linked to the Digital Technologies content descriptor, “Examine how whole numbers are used to represent all data in digital systems  (ACTDIK015)” with a specific elaboration on “recognising that digital systems represent all types of data using number codes that ultimately are patterns of 1s and 0s (called binary digits, which is why they are called digital systems)”


The activity involves students creating pictures using the template above by colouring or cells or leaving cells as white. Students then go in groups and exchange pictures where they develop a code for each line of the picture. Students then swap the written code again and reconstruct the picture using the developed code. Students then reflect on their work by comparing their original picture with the final picture recreated from code.



Science: students recreate these pictures using the developed code using paper circuits where they need to design their circuits so that on or off led lights act as the 1s and 0s. This links to the Science Understanding curriculum code:

  • Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097)

It also links to the Science Inquiry codes:


The task is also relevant to Design and Technology Processes and production skills: (WATPPS33), (WATPPS34),  (WATPPS35), (WATPPS36), (WATPPS37)



Safe, responsible and ethical use:

When integrating this activity with Science, students will be working with electric circuits so the teacher and students must discuss safety procedures involving cell batteries and the other electrical components.


In terms of ethical use, the codes created must be those of age-appropriate and respectful pictures.



For support, students can start with pictures that have been pre-created. Or, some lines of code could be made available and students fill in the missing lines or 1s and 0s.


For extension, students can work with more complex pictures.



The teacher must be aware that not everyone will be working at the same pace so that the small groups may not work. It may be that students find other students who are finished and swap work with them instead of waiting for members in their group to finish.

The exercise could also be more collaborative where pairs can work on one picture instead of students working individually.

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