Data Representation – Spy Idea

Some ideas for classroom activities, relating to patterns and play (option 2) relate to a fun theme that might be SPIES.

The area could be integrated across so many different learning areas – learning about spies throughout history (HASS), learning about binary and how the base-two system works (Maths) writing a secret message (English) and more! A potential activity could be to get students into groups of two or four, so that there are the encoders and the decoders. As a group, the team must decide on at least two different ways of communicating a secret message. One must be visual, and one must be auditory. Examples might be binary coding, morse code, flag systems, sign language, a whistle system… Students can be given a list of options or told to research methods of communication themselves. Then one half of the team must encode the message, and the other half of the team must decode it. This could be done in front of the class or the teacher could walk around the room and observe.


Once children become familiar with some of these methods of communication, other activities and ideas could be:

  • Communicating fun, quick instructions to the class in code.
  • Doing classwork outside – students could try whistling and/or flag symbols.
  • Trying a game of chinese whispers but students can speak in code/write a message in code that needs to be copied across.
  • Have a weekly “crack the code”challenge, where a student can write something up on the board using a code they have researched or made up, and the rest of the class can try to figure out what it says and how the code works in their own time.

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