CSP: Digital Information

Circle Square Patterns

based on resources from Code.org and geeks

PBL by Silver oaks

How many ways can you represent 7 ?

The arabic numeral ‘7’ is just one commonly used symbol to represent the number seven. There are many ways to communicate this same number that may use different symbols or representations, all of which are valid.

Let your imagination go wild and get more creative.

I will represent ‘7’ the following way using emojis


come up with your own creative ways and answer the question in Google Classroom.

There are a variety of ways we could represent the number 7 – we might use the numeral ‘7’ or the word ‘seven’, but this might be different in other countries or other languages. Today we’ll see how we might represent the number 7 using only two different shapes.


Generate Patterns

In the previous class, we ended by deciding that one of the best way to use our devices was to limit them to two options, let’s say: option 1 is circles and option 2 is squares. Now let’s figure out how we can use these shapes to communicate lots of different pieces of information.

Work out how many different pieces of information (made of up of circles and squares) you can represent with three place values. For example: circle-circle-circle and circle-square-circle can represent two different pieces of information.

How many unique patterns were you able to make using circle and square in three place setting?

Individual Activity

Circle Square activity

We agreed that there are 8 possible patterns we can make with 3 place values. But, not everyone wrote these patterns in the same order, which means we don’t all have the same 7th pattern! Our goal is to create a clear set of rules where, if the class were to follow these rules, everyone should generate the same list of patterns in the same order.

Students can complete the challenges individually using either physical or digital manipulatives.

You will find your digital manipulative once you open the assignment in Google Classroom.

Record all of the possible three place value patterns that use only the circle and square shapes. A few are listed in the diagram below.

Try to make sure these patterns are in some type of order and avoid putting down patterns randomly

Reflect on how you put the patterns earlier  in order from one line to the next. Are there any clear rules to follow? If you didn’t use any clear rules, re-do Task 1 with some rules in mind.

Use your rules from the last task to try and generate all possible four place value patterns using only circles and squares. Couple of examples are listed below.

You may need to add new rules or slightly change your rules to account for all four place value patterns, but try to keep them as similar as possible.




Congratulations! You just invented your own system for counting and we now have new ways to represent the number 7! This happens a lot as new technology is invented and fine-tuned – different technologies might count in different ways. Tomorrow we’re going to learn about the counting system computers use to represent numbers!

Discuss in Google Classroom.

How is counting in this circle/square system similar to how we count in our regular lives? How is it different?

How would you explain a number system to someone who had never seen numbers before?


Circle square activity

students work