In Year 8 ICT this term we have been covering the topic of Cryptography. This follows on from their visit to Bletchley Park at the end of last year. So far the children have had a go at creating and decoding simple Caesar Ciphers and Substitution Ciphers. As whole classes they worked together in teams to crack a long piece of encoded text – out of the three teams the winning team cracked the cipher in 9 minutes but took a further 34 to decode the message.

We then looked at barcodes; what information they contain and how they are used. The children were then sent on a barcode hunt to find all the barcodes I had hidden around the school. They simply had to jot down the numbers and then use the Internet to identify the correct product. We also talked about the check digit and how computers use this and some complicated mathematics to check that it has read the barcode correctly.

In the next lesson we talked about how encryption is used in online shopping and online banking. We looked at how credit card numbers are encrypted and how the information is transmitted securely. The children were then given a list of coded co-ordinates that they had to decrypt and then enter into in order to find the secret locations.

This week we will be looking at QR codes and the children will be creating a virtual tour of the school in time for our open morning on Saturday. The children will write descriptions of various locations around the school and then use to turn these descriptions into QR codes to be displayed around the school.


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