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Key Stage 5 and FE

Codes and Ciphers

From Ancient Greece to the modern day people have been using increasingly complex codes and ciphers with the intention of communicating secretly and keeping information secure. Enigma was one such cipher. Students will enjoy the rare opportunity to use a genuine Enigma machine as well as encountering a range of historical codes and ciphers as they work together to decipher messages in order to solve a puzzle.

During this session students will:

Increase their knowledge of codes and ciphers and their uses throughout history.

Develop their understanding of the role that ciphers played during WW2, with specific reference to the Enigma machine and the wider operations of Bletchley Park.

Use and develop team working, problems solving and mathematical thinking skills to a practical codebreaking task.

Subject Focus: Maths, History, Computing

Interception to Intelligence

It is 1941 and the Battle of the Atlantic is at its height. Numerous convoys of essential supplies are being sunk by German Wolf packs and Britain is close to surrender. In the role of codebreakers students will intercept, decipher and translate German Naval communications in order to plan a strategy to get the next convoy safely to Liverpool.

During this session students will:

Develop their knowledge and understanding of WWII events and the role of Bletchley Park in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Briefly describe the process of decryption at Bletchley Park, from when a message is first intercepted until the intelligence is used.

Apply team working, problem solving and strategic thinking skills to obtain and apply scenario based intelligence.

Subject Focus: History, Maths

Cyber Security

Bletchley Park’s codebreakers exploited vulnerabilities and basic breaches of protocol in the use of Enigma to break encrypted messages. These types of techniques are still used in today’s connected world. Through challenges and an Enigma demonstration students will examine these techniques in more detail, evaluate their relevance to our modern day, online lives and consider any changes they may need to make to their online habits.

During this session students will:

Understand that human error and complacency is often the reason for cyber security breaches, as in WW2 codebreaking.

Identify treats from scenarios and understand protection strategies and techniques.

Use their discoveries to understand ways to keep personal information safe online.

Subject Focus: History, Computing, PHSE

Story of Enigma

The German Military believed the Enigma cipher was unbreakable. They were wrong, but the Codebreakers were only able to break Enigma because of human error, complacency and predictable message formats. Students will examine a genuine Enigma machine to figure out for themselves what made Enigma such an effective cipher at the time and calculate the exact number of possible key settings per message.

During this session students will:

Learn about and understand the operation, use and purpose of Enigma machines in WW2.

Work together to develop and apply their mathematical skills and knowledge to calculate the number of possible key settings per message for a standard army Enigma machine.

Subject Focus: Mathematics, History, Computing

Story of Lorenz

More effective but less well known than the iconic Enigma machine, Lorenz was the cipher of the German High Command. It was so complex that it required the world’s first programmable electronic computer to break it. Students will learn some of the secrets of this machine, including its use of binary operations to generate a number of key settings that dwarfed that of Enigma.

During this session students will:

Develop their knowledge and understanding of ciphers used in the past including those during WW2 and how they are relevant to modern day ciphers

Understand the number possible settings for a Lorenz machine and come to recognise the scale of the problem for codebreakers in WW2

Work with others as a team to solve problems and challenges using their combined mathematical skills and knowledge.

Subject Focus: Mathematics, History, Computing

Related Pages

Sessions

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Book a Learning Visit

Prices and how to book a learning visit to Bletchley Park

Essential Information

Everything you need to know before you visit with your school

On-site FAQs

Frequently asked questions relating to learning visits

Sessions

Find out more about the different sessions we run on-site

Essential Information

Everything you need to know before you visit with your school

Book a Learning Visit

Prices and how to book a learning visit to Bletchley Park

On-site FAQs

Frequently asked questions relating to learning visits