The following is a classroom activity that involves students encoding and decoding data at a Year 4 level, although this could be differentiated for Years 3-6.

Students will create a ‘Treasure Hunt’ in groups. These hunts will be run by the groups to be completed by the class. Groups will take turns to host this treasure hunt every math lesson for the duration of the unit it applies to, or on a weekly basis.

This is a student-led activity with minimal teacher directives.

PARAMETERS: Groups may choose to send a textual message (for example, an answer to a question and each clue is the next word in the sentence) or a series of numbers (for example, the number 36 is clue 1, 34 is clue 2 etc.) by encoding letters or numbers and requiring the class to decode these to find the answer.

The class may work as individuals or collaboratively to solve.

This lesson is very flexible. It can be used to teach binary (give the binary codes for numbers and students must work backwards to find the original number) or can be used to foster student-led decoding strategies which encourages higher order thinking and problem solving skills.

TEXTUAL MESSAGES:

Students can encode a textual message using only numbers. To do this, they make suggestions and then create a correspondence table for the letters and numbers for use by the entire class. They use this table to encode a message that they send. The class will have to work individually or in groups to decode the group’s message they receive.

SERIES OF NUMBERS:

Students will convert a series of number (up to 7) into binary. The class will be given the first binary code to solve. They will find the answer and then find this number posted somewhere in the classroom by the group. Under this number will be the next binary code to solve. The class must solve to find the correct sequence of numbers. This is a self-correcting activity.

This could be made into an online activity by asking groups to create a ‘treasure hunt’ in Boom Learning (https://wow.boomlearning.com).