Flip Out

Image of the Flip Out exhibit.

Explore number representation in the binary counting system.

How it Works

Flip the blocks provided to see numbers represented using both binary and decimal counting systems.

Things to Try or Ask Around the Exhibit

  • How high can you count with the blocks provided?
  • How many ways are there of representing each number in binary?
  • If you added another block to the left, how many dots would be on it to continue the pattern?

Background

Binary is a base two counting system, meaning it only requires two digits: 0 and 1.  The two faces of the blocks in this exhibit stand in for these two states.

Finding the Science in Your World

Computers use a binary counting system because it is simple to produce a system that switches between and reads only two states.