Micro Challenge #34 – Translating into binary code

22 June 2020 - 3 minute read

Welcome to the thirty-fourth of Altitude Foundation’s #MicroChallenges2020

Today’s challenge will help you revise or review your binary knowledge.

What’s a Micro Challenge?

These challenges are short activities to help you develop, revise or refresh your coding skills, posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Micro Challenge #34

Binary is a form of ‘base notation’, which means that it uses numbers and their location to indicate information. In our everyday life, we most often use decimal base notation, where each space is worth 10 times the preceding space (i.e. 10 is 1×10 and 0x1, because the left number is ten times the right number. Compare that with 1.5, which 1×1 and 5×0.1 – again, the left multiplier is ten times that of the right). 

Binary looks different. So for example:

1 in binary = 1 in decimal notation

10 in binary = 2 in decimal notation

100 = 4

101 = 5 (Here, the furthest left indicates 4 and the furthest right indicates 1, which adds up to 5!).

This is because each place in this case indicates that it is twice the preceding number. 

The Challenge:

Your challenge today is to present the following numbers as binary:

  • Your age
  • Today’s challenge number.
  • The combined ages of your household.
  • Stretch: The population of your village, town or city. 

Review it:

  • Double check your numbers! It might be useful to create a binary table, with the value of each place on top. We’ve started one below:


  • Binary is also a Boolean operator, insofar as it can be used to indicate true/false (1 =true, i.e. that number should be counted; 0 = false, i.e. that number should not be counted). Could you express this as pseudocode or an algorithm?

Win a micro:bit!

Don’t forget: If you submit your response to Challenge #32 via the Share It options below before the 30th of June, you will be entered into a prize draw for one of 5 micro:bits.

  • The giveaway is open to any young person aged between 14 and 18 based in the UK. 

Share it

We would love to see what you have created! Please send any pictures, videos, or files of your activities to us – either via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram  using #MicroChallenges2020 or to challenges@altitudefoundation.org. If you are emailing them to us, please let us know if you are happy for us to share your stuff on our social media platforms (with credit, of course). 

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