Do you speak binary?

My 10yo does now.  She’s my new favorite kid.  Don’t worry; I’m fickle.  I try to have a new favorite every few hours.  😉

I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy math.  I think I may have even told you that while some people think in words or pictures, I’m pretty sure I think in numbers.  Math is my primary language, my love language, my childhood sweetheart.  Yes, I like math.  Math likes me.

Over the years, I’ve tried to teach my older children about other number systems besides our base 10.  Have I lost you yet?  Theoretically, a number system can have more or less than 10 numerals – it doesn’t have to be zero through nine.  Binary is a good introduction, the only one I’ve tried to wrap my brain around.

My 3 oldest didn’t have the will or imagination to grasp the idea.  They looked pained.  “Nooooo, Mom!  I don’t get it!  Noooooooooooooooo…”  Their voices would trail off in despair while they wondered why I was tormenting them for fun.

But Megan is different.  I casually introduced the concept last night, like a puzzle.  She took it and ran.  She wasn’t content to learn to convert base 10 numbers to and from the binary number system.  By the end of the evening, we had learned together how to add and subtract, even borrowing and carrying.  She wanted to try multiplication, but I thought we were at a good place to pause.

That’s my girl.

One through ten in binary:












  1. And in response, I just have to say:

  2. I just found this binary to text converter and remembered reading this post, so I came back to say:


  3. I have a binary watch– they’re kinda neat, and they take a while to master!

  4. My cousin had that on his t-shirt!

    I didn’t ask what binary was, since I was obviously the wrong type. 🙂

  5. Way cool! Keep up the great work [smile].

    And I like the binary joke too.


  6. Amy,
    Megan and I both laughed at your husband’s joke. We love it!

    You might be surprised. I found that learning Latin really cemented my understanding of English grammar, and I suspect that learning to manipulate numbers in another system will cement Megan’s grip on algebra, which is all about handling numbers even if you don’t know their values.
    Incidentally, I use algebra daily in real life. Just one example: it helps me multiply large numbers in my head.

  7. I “get” it, I just don’t care. LOL. I had a teacher in 2-4 grade that I really liked, and she intro’d us to base 12 and 2 and so forth. It’s interesting, but I don’t see the point. I’m more of a practical application sort of person. (And yes, I know there are places to apply these things; just not in my world.)

  8. My husband told me a joke that is very fitting:
    There are only 10 sorts of people in the world
    Those who understand binary and those who don’t!

  9. Oh my stars yuck! Math ewwww, ya’ll are so danged smart, Kim you never cease to amaze me with your intellegence!
    Perry your not so bad yourself dude. I love coming here, I know you are so proud of your intellegent kiddo’s as well!

  10. Binary is so fun! I was a computer science major so I got to learn how to use every base. Usually the first interview question will be converting a number into base seven or something.

    If she loves binary you should explore base eight (octal) or sixteen (hex). Converting to and from binary and these bases is easy. For octal you break the binary number up into groups of 3 digits and just convert each group.

    So 1011101 breaks into: 1 011 101.
    That translates to: 1 3 5. So in octal that number is 135.
    Hex is the same but with groups of four digits. And letters are used for higher digits. 1010 is A, up to 1111 which is F.

    Hope this gives you more fun tricks!

  11. We bought one of those clocks for a computer (geek) friend of ours, he loves it. I’m impressed that anyone can actually read the thing! My brain sure doesn’t work that way 🙂

  12. I love math myself buy lost me. I think in pictures though. VERY visual. I thought the link above would help. No go. I think I would be with your oldest girls. LOL!!!!

  13. haha! I was wondering if it was my computer or what… thanks!

  14. I guess it would be nicer to give you the link to the main page 😉

  15. I love math too… so much that I took Algebra I, Algebra II and Advanced Algebra along with Accounting… Oh yeah…numbers are my friends! 🙂


  1. […] It all makes sense, unlike our delightfully quirky system.  It's all 1's and 0's.  It's practically a binary system. […]

Don't just think it: say it!

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