Learn to Code

Learn to Code

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lesson 1: Electrical Current->Data Transmission

Data Transmission: Electrical Current: Intro to Binary

It is logically important to bridge the gap between the part of the computer you see(hardware) & the part of the computer that processes your requests(software).  I encourage students to ask "how EXACTLY does that work?".

If you pickup a circuit board(say the motherboard of any computer) you see the data transmission system for that computing device.  From the main processor(CPU) there are 'streets' for the electricity to travel through distributing bytes of information at blinding speed.  These pathways are made of material that conducts electricity very well.  The space in-between the pathways is insulator material.  Insulator material ensures an electrical current will not jump from one street to the other.  

What IS an electrical current? 

Electrical current is used to transmit data.  Let's take a look at the periodic table of elements.  Elements either have a stable number of electrons or an unstable number of electrons.  Electrical current is created when electrons flow from 1 atom to another atom. The table below highlights elements that will conduct electricity in red & orange.  These are elements that swap electrons- conducting an electrical current.

How is electricity generated?

Simply having copper will not generate an electrical current.  It is important to understand the origin of electricity.  
Electricity comes from the outlet.  But where does the outlet get it from?  
Electricity is not a natural resource.  It must be generated.  Technology leverages the absolute principles of nature- gravity, wind, pressure & magnetism.  For example, using the force of water rushing over a dam, technology can force a large magnet to turn over bundles of copper wire.   This will generate an electrical charge.  

<hands on activity:create electricity using a home made electro-magnet generator>

<in progress>