CS Unplugged: Error Detection

Use the Error Detection offline activity to explore how a computer uses parity error checking to find errors. A parity bit is a single bit added to binary data. This task uses a 'magic trick' to engage learners and introduce the idea of adding a parity bit to data. It relies on the parity bit indicating whether a column of data is an odd or even value. The activity also shows real examples of this error detection technique using a ten-digit code ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and Bar code. Support your teaching and learning with video clips and other related resources.

Additional details

Year band(s) 7-8
Format Web page
Core and overarching concepts Digital systems
Australian Curriculum Digital Technologies code(s)

Explain how hardware specifications affect performance and select appropriate hardware for particular tasks and workloads


Investigate how data is transmitted and secured in wired and wireless networks including the internet


Analyse and visualise data using a range of software, including spreadsheets and databases, to draw conclusions and make predictions by identifying trends

Keywords Communication, Written calculations, Binary numbers, Parity bit, Error detection, Checksum

University of Canterbury, New Zealand


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