To gather an array of different methods of encoding and decoding messages, students could work in groups to research one specific method. The names of these methods could be listed on the board, with each group choosing one that they are interested in. This way, students from each group can share with the rest of the class and inform their peers.
This website (https://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/secret/secret.html) highlights a few strategies to encode and decode messages. An interesting one was “substitution cipers”, focusing on patterns of bolded and plain text, with the patterns corresponding to a specific letter (eg. A= *****, B= ****B where * is plain text and B indicates a bolded letter). The Enigma machine was another example used by the Nazis in WW2, snippets of the film ‘The Imitation Game’ could be used to engage students.
They should also be provided opportunities to experiment with these methods, or potentially create their own (non-digital or digital) and have their peers attempt to crack them.
Students can also discuss what types of messages they think were important to protect, and what types of encoding/ decoding they would choose if they needed to write a secret message (and why).
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