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In this activity, students are shown a key to the post office conversion code and given a bar coded zip code to decipher. The activity, part of the Figure This! collection of 80 math challenges emphasizing math in the real world, introduces the bar-coding system and explains how the system enables businesses and banks to run more efficiently. The Hint suggests that students group the long and short bars into sets of five and then refer to the key to see what number is being represented. Related questions ask students to write a code using the U.S. Postal Service bar code and to decode a bar code on a piece of their own mail. Answers to all questions and links to resources are included. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
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