# Fifth Period

## First Time Here?

Go to the first strip and
see how it all started!

Join students Sophie, Tomás, Emma, and Marcus during Fifth Period! This STEM comic strip chronicles the exciting and often hilarious adventures of a close-knit group of four friends as they learn about science, technology, engineering, and math from their kooky, inspiring, off-the-wall science teacher, Mr. Kepler. When they're not in class, these kids love to explore the vast world of STEM on their own, launching weather balloons, programming computer games, and cataloging insects, sometimes with unpredictable and highly entertaining results!

Check back on the first and third Friday of every month for a new Fifth Period strip!

February 1, 2013

### Robodog's Alphabet

Why do Robodog's "ABC's" look like a bunch of 1's and 0's? Because it's the language of machines! Robodog is writing in binary—the most basic way computers store, recognize, and use information.

Here's how it works: Computers are electrical, so they "see" information in terms of electrical charges. A "0" means there no electrical charge, while a "1" means there is an electrical charge. (In short, "0" means "OFF," and "1" means "ON"!) A 1 or a 0 is the very smallest piece of information a computer can process, called a bit. A set of eight bits is called a byte, and one byte can be used to represent one alphabetical character. You can rearrange the bits in a byte to make all of the different characters in the alphabet, as well as the full number set (0–9)! It may seem weird and wacky to encode all the characters we regularly use into just ON and OFF, but it's perfect for computers that operate at super-fast speeds!

Try it yourself!