You are on page 1of 4

Cryptography Pop Up Program

Outcomes
1. Learn about the basics of cryptography through hands-on activities
2. Observe a basic chemical reaction (lemon juice and heat)
3. Spend an afternoon engaged in a positive activity

Supplies
Invisible Ink
- Paper
- Pre-mixed lemon juice and water ink
- Q-tips or paint brushes (number depending on group size)
- Small bowls or cups (number depending on group size)
- Iron
- Ironing board

Decoder Wheel
- Decoder wheel template
- Scissors
- Brads

How To
This pop-up activity was created as an extension of the Crack the Code: Cryptography Fun01
event on July 29th. This activity introduces participants to basic information about cryptography
through the hands-on activities of Invisible Ink and creating a Decoder Wheel.

For the Invisible Ink activity, participants will decide on their secret message. Using the lemon
juice mixture, theyll then write their secret message on a blank piece of white paper. After the
message dries, the facilitator will heat the paper (taking care not to burn the paper) and
participants will observe as the lemon juice oxidizes and turns brown - appearing on the paper.

For the Decoder Wheel, participants will cut out the template and assemble their Wheel. Each
participant can then practice sending and decoding secret messages.

Indicators
- Active participation with the materials showing a high level of engagement
- Finished projects: Decoder Wheel they can take home and use

Assessment
- Observation: watching how participants engage with the material and direct their own
learning. Are participants asking questions of each other or the facilitator(s)? Do they
seem excited to learn more about cryptography?
- Informal Interviews: Facilitator(s) should ask participants about their favorite part of the
activity. What did they learn? What do they like about the topic? What do they want to
learn more about?
Cryptology: Codes and Ciphers
Cryptology is the study of secret communications using codes or ciphers.
Codes replace words, phrases, or sentences with groups of letters or numbers
while a cipher rearranges letters or uses substitutes to disguise the message1.
The actual process of turning a normal message into a secret message is called
encoding or enciphering while turning a secret message back into normal
message is called decoding or deciphering.

Throughout history, codes and ciphers have been used by kings and queens,
military, businesses and spies to protect secret communications. The main job of
a spy or secret agent is to find out and share information with the person in
charge. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington trained a special
group of people on the art of espionage or spying!

Julius Caesar may have created the first code using a very simple substitution
cipher where one letter of the alphabet is replaced with another letter (for
example, M = P which shifts the entire alphabet three places to the right so N =
Q, O = R, P = S etc.).

There are many ways to communicate secret messages. Morse Code was
invented by Samuel Morse in the 1830s to send messages using the telegraph.
This code consists of dots and dashes for specific letters of the alphabet. Prior to
Morse Code, the military used semaphore. Semaphore used different
arrangements of two flags to correspond to each letter of the alphabet.
Invisible ink is one of the oldest (and simplest) ways to send a secret message
and can be made of many common ingredients!

What about today? While codes and ciphers are still used by leaders today,
they are much more complicated (and harder to crack!) than they were
during Julius Caesars time. Encryption is also used today by computers,
protecting a users privacy by safely storing data and encoding transactions
between computers.

1
Cryptology for Kids
Secret Decoder
This is a super fun assignment for all the secret agents out there. Time to put your sleuthing skills to work.
HOW TO MAKE THE DECODER WHEEL:
1. Cut out the circles below and stack in order from the number 1 wheel on the bottom, then number 2 wheel and finally
number 3 wheel on the top.
2. Attach the 3 discs by carefully poking a round brad through the middle of all three wheels.

HOW TO USE DECODER WHEEL:

B C
Z A
1. Pick a letter on the outer wheel and a number in the
inner circle - this is your key (ex. M21). Turn the
inner wheel so that the number (21 in our
example) lines up with the out wheel
Y D
letter (M in our example). On our wheel
21 also corresponds with R in the

E
X
shaded section. Dont move the wheels
now, keep them in place.
T U V W

F
2. First, write down your message.
No numbers (write them out),
and no punctuations

G H I
3. For each letter of your
message, find that character on
the outer wheel, and write
down the letter that is exactly
beneath it on the inner wheel
until your message is complete.
4. To read the encrypted message,
get the key from the message
sender and align the wheel. For each
S

J
letter of your message, find that
character on the inner wheel, and
write down the letter that is exactly
R

K
above it on the outer wheel.
Q L
M N
T U
R S
O P
Q V
22 23 2 4
21 25
20
W
P

26
19
L M N O

X
15 16 17 18

E CRET
Y Z A B
2

S
3
4
4

R
1

D
K

13

EC
6

E
12
7 OD
C
J

8
9 10 11 D
E F I
G H

www.dabblesandbabbles.com