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Advantages of Digital Communication Transmission

A Carolina Essentials™ Activity
mass of various communications wires

Overview

This introductory activity provides students with an organizational tool to classify benefits and drawbacks of analog and digital information transmission after researching both types of transmission. Next, they will construct an argument for the transmission and storage selection method selected and present a written argument to a hypothetical business. Upon completing their comparison and argument, students will simulate digital transmission by translating their name and a simple sentence into binary code.

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Teacher Notes
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Student Worksheet
mass of various communications wires
Grade & Discipline
9-12

Physical Science
Recommended for grades 9-12.

Time Requirements
Prep15 min
Activity30 min

Teacher Prep time: 15 min
Student Activity: 30 min
Student Research: 1 hour (class time or homework)

Safety Requirements
No PPE is required for the activity.

Overview

This introductory activity provides students with an organizational tool to classify benefits and drawbacks of analog and digital information transmission after researching both types of transmission. Next, they will construct an argument for the transmission and storage selection method selected and present a written argument to a hypothetical business. Upon completing their comparison and argument, students will simulate digital transmission by translating their name and a simple sentence into binary code.

Save & Print
Teacher Notes
Save & Print
Student Worksheet

Phenomenon

What makes these phones different from each other?

old analog phone, flip phone and a current smart phone

Essential Question

What are the advantages of using digital information transmission?

Activity Objectives

  1. Prepare a graphic organizer detailing the benefits and drawbacks of analog and digital information transmission and storage.
  2. Construct an argument for the use of one method of transmission and storage of information.
  3. Simulate digital information transmission by translating information into binary code.

Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS)

PE HS-PS4-2. Evaluate questions about the advantages of using a digital transmission and storage of information.

Science and Engineering Practices

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

  • Evaluate questions that challenge the premise(s) of an argument, the interpretation of a data set or the suitability of a design.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

PS4.A: Wave Properties

  • Information can be digitized (e.g., a pictured stored as the values of an array of pixels): in this form, it can be stored reliably in computer memory and sent over long distances as a series of wave pulses.

Crosscutting Concepts

Stability and Change

  • Systems can be designed for greater or lesser stability.

Safety Procedures and Precautions

No PPE is required for the activity.

Teacher Preparation and Disposal

Copy or upload student activity handouts. There is no disposal of materials. You may wish to copy and laminate the binary alphabet for other activities

Student

Teacher

  1. Student: Complete your assigned research.
  1. Teacher: Divide students into groups of 4 and assign the research component of the activity.
  1. Share research and fill in the graphic organizer completely.
  1. Instruct students to share research and fill in the graphic organizer completely.
  1. Use the information you found to prepare a written argument convincing a large business which data storage and transmission method is best for the company.
  1. Give students samples of short, 4-5 words, sentences for translation into binary code.
  1. Use the binary alphabet to translate your name and a short sentence.

Data and Observations

Examples of Student Responses

examples of student responses
examples of student responses
binary code alphabet chart

Analysis & Discussion

1. Construct an argument, citing evidence, that a large corporation should use either analog or digital information storage and transmission.

Student answers will vary. See a possible rubric below.

Feature Achieved Attempted Absent
Clear thesis statement for choice of transmission and storage (analog or digital)      
Reasons supporting the choice (3 to 5)      
Reasons supported with evidence      
Sources cited where appropriate      
Mechanics (sentence structure, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and convincing style)      

2. Look at the uppercase binary alphabet. What patterns can you identify?

All letters start with 010 and are 8 characters long. The last 5 digits change by one in each place as each letter changes.

3. Look at the lowercase binary alphabet. What patterns can you identify?

All letters start with 011 and are 8 characters long. The last 5 digits change by one in each place as each letter changes.

4. Write your name in binary code.

Amy = 010000010110110101111001

5. Write a short sentence in binary code and give it to a classmate for translation. Check it for correctness.

Student answers will vary. You may wish to put restrictions on sentence length if time is a concern.

6. Look at the phones in the phenomenon again. Based on what you learned, determine the information transmission and storage method for each phone. Include your reasoning.

Tan phone is analog transmission and no storage. There is a cord attached to the phone that must go to a wall jack and the receiver is attached by a cord to the phone base. The flip phone and flat cell phone are digital transmission and storage. There are no cords and pictures, voice, video, and text information can be stored on the phone.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, these products.

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