Homework Idea – Secret Codes

Homework Ideas – Codes & Ciphers – Explore the world of secret messages. Great research, writing, problem solving & thinking skills activity.

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Codes & Ciphers (or Cyphers)

(What Are They? How Have They Been Used?)
Codes & Ciphers (or Cyphers)

Introduction: Secrets have been kept in code for thousand of years. Sometimes messages need to be transported and it is very important that other people don’t read them.


a) Define ‘cryptography’.
b) What is the difference between the words ‘code’ and ‘cipher’.
c) Why are they used? Diplomatic? Military? Information Security? Anything else?

Have a Play With a Code:

This website will take any message you type in and convert it to Morse Code. You can then have it play audio of the dots and dashes. #goodfun Morse Code Generator

Generate some messages for the students to decipher.

Possible Codes to Investigate:

Morse code, semaphore, The Enigma Code, The story of breaking the Egyptian hieroglyph code, Beale Ciphers, Voynich Manuscript, Dorabella Cipher, The Zimmerman Telegram, Kryptos, The Rosetta Stone, Poe’s Cryptographic Challenge, The Navajo Code TalkersOak Island Money Pit Cipher Stone, Polyibus Cipher, QR Codes, 128K encryption, Bletchley Park…+ any that you know of.

Possible Code Tasks

– You must find a code that you find interesting and write a simple sentence using it. NB the message you send must bring a smile to the face of the recipients.

You must then provide the key to the code to a group of your classmates and transmit your message to them.


– Make up your own very clever code after viewing a few of the more famous codes.
– Write occasional messages to your class in code.