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Black History Month: Code My Name

In support of Black History Month, we're highlighting Janet Emerson Bashen, an inventor and software pioneer who has impacted the world of computer technology. 

What are some ways technology makes things easier for you on a daily basis? For example, maybe you have a robot vacuum at home to help clean.  You probably use a computer to do school work sometimes, too. Brainstorm as a family some ways each of you uses technology on a daily basis.

Janet Emerson Bashen is an inventor and the first Black woman to get a patent for a software invention that allowed her to simplify her work. Her invention, LinkLine, helps keep documents organized and she used software code to create it. Software code is a language computers use. Sometimes computers and machines communicate with just two codes, "on" and "off" or “0” and “1”. Try creating your own code following the steps below!


  • “Code My Name” worksheet—click here to download
  • ASCII Alphabet from Binary Baubles—see below
  • 3 different colors of beads: one dark, one light and one for the spaces 
  • Pipe cleaner or string

ASCII Alphabet


  1. Write your name in the boxes below.  Each letter of your name will go in one box. 
  2. Choose one color to represent 'on' another color to represent 'off' and finally a third color to act as a space. 
  3. Using the ASCII chart, line up the corresponding colors of dark and light beads for each letter of your name on “Code My Name Worksheet.” Use the 3rd color of bead for the spaces between the binary codes. 
  4. Using the yarn or pipe cleaner and beads, string beads following your color code from worksheet.  
  5. Ask your adult to help you tie your necklace or bracelet.