Analog-To-Digital Science: Modeling Binary Coding and the CD Read System
Our five-day lesson module for high school physics uses modeling and hands-on investigation to explore how digital signals are created from analog information. Students will use art as an analogy to differentiate analog and digital media, choose sampling rates and apply mathematics, and encode/decode words in binary. In the culminating activity, learners build a working model of a CD player that uses laser light to read a word coded as a binary message. The lesson can be adapted for learners with little or no background in binary number systems. Inexpensive! Materials include laser pointer, smartphone light meter, motorized toy car (to rotate the CD), blank compact discs, and converging lenses.
Digital Signals: Sampling and Quantization
This 6-page tutorial, written by music synthesis software developer Robin Schmidt, provides a straightforward introduction to digital sampling. It fully explains how to sample a sinosoid, how to reconstruct the sinusoid from its samples, and how to apply Shannon's Sampling Theorem. Most of the tutorial is appropriate for algebra-based high school physics, but teachers will want to reserve the section on Quantization Noise for AP physics. It could work well as a flipped lesson to go with the AAPT learning module "Analog-to-Digital".