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Codes & Ciphers

Tawny Star Requirement A10:

"Send and receive a message in code, such as Morse code, semaphore or a secret code you made up yourself."

Codes have been used for a very, very long time - almost since the beginning of writing. One of the very old ones that we know of was used in Sparta (in Greece) in about 400 B.C. To make this code, a long, thin strip of paper (or papyrus) was wrapped around a staff (like a scout staff). The message was written lengthwise on the staff and the paper unrolled. The message could only be read by someone who had exactly the same sized (diameter) staff!

Other codes use different techniques. A code properly means that the original text is replaced by another object, as in Morse code. A cipher replaces the text with another object according to the rules of a secret key. The example above is called a transposition cipher.

A Cub Exploring

As part of our Tawny Star work, and in an activity at the 1997 Cuboree, the Pack took part in these fun exercises involving codes:

Morse Code
Grid Code

Note: I would like to thank the leaders of the 27th Burlington "B" Pack and the 1st Port Nelson Pack. The "grid code" activity and the code history are based on their "Gold Dubloons" activity run at the 1997 Cuboree!

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E-Mail Akela@15thburlington.org

This page, and all contents, Copyright 1998 Scouts Canada, 15th Strathcona Scouting Group
Select graphics courtesy of the Web Diner.

Page last revised Tuesday January 24, 2012.