- cryptography algorithms
- frequency analysis
- algorithmic thinking
- computational thinking
- literacy for fun
- tally charts
- patterns in letters and digraphs
Can you crack our cipher and read our secret computing joke? Learn about frequency analysis, use histograms and tally tables as well as your knowledge of patterns in letters in English.
- Puzzle Sheet: Cipher breaking puzzle – crack our joke [PDF]
- Solution Sheet: Solution to Cipher breaking puzzle – crack our joke [PDF]
The British used an uncrackable cipher doing the war – the one-time pad. Here you can make one with a pack of cards and our lookup table. For a simpler version that doesn’t need a lookup table, but more work to make the resources, make your own cards of 1-26.
We ask the question why aren’t they used more…
Firstly the one-time pad has to be massive – one number for every letter you ever want to send. Secondly, the key exchange problem. The whole one-time pad is the key. You have to share that first, and you can’t just send it unencrypted! If Eve reads the one-time pad when you send it, she can read all your messages from then on. Also you can’t memorise it, so it has to be written down. If it is stolen, whoever has it can read all your past messages if they recorded them. Worse, if Trudy breaks in and takes a copy of the one-time pad, then all your messages in future can be read too.
Can you decipher this Christmas word: ZOFLTS ?
The key is to give it a go on your computer when you are bored!
- Puzzle Sheet: Download this as a puzzle sheet [PDF]
- Solution Sheet: Solutions to the Christmas Cryptography puzzle [PDF]
- Perhaps you can crack Herod’s message yourself, If not read on and learn about Caesar Ciphers, and cribs, or just imagine you are the the recipient who knows the key and must just use that key to decrypt it.
- Here is a message to decipher hidden in a description of the Great Fire of London to match the Stuart theme of the cipher. It uses the Bacon Cipher invented by Sir Francis Bacon.
- Decipher the message hidden in the carol ‘Silent Night’ in this Tudor/Stuart based code-cracking puzzle. It uses the Bacon Cipher invented by Sir Francis Bacon.
Other Puzzle Sheets