Lesson 4: Using binary - numbers

Learning that computers use binary to carry out calculations, children perform their own addition and subtraction binary calculations

Before the lesson

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Learning objective

  • To use simple operations to calculate bit patterns

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the world-wide web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Attention grabber

Main event


Pupils needing extra support: Instead of adding the two numbers, they could try to work out the value of the numbers and calculate this way:

E.g. 111 + 101 = ?

111 = 7

101 = 5

So, 7 + 5 = 12

And 12 in binary would be 1100


Pupils working at greater depth: Once they have managed to successfully add two 3-bit numbers, they should then extend to these activities:

  • Two 6-bit binary numbers.
  • Two 8-bit binary numbers.
  • Three 8-bit binary numbers.

Wrapping up

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding


Created by:
Richard Williams,  
Computing specialist
Richard is a Year 6 Teacher at St. Pancras Primary School. Richard’s passion for teaching was recognised when he received Suffolk’s ‘Raising The Bar’ award for Innovation 2016. With his class he made the world’s first guided VR:360 school tour…
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