What is a code?

Today we are going to think about what it means to use a code.What if we made each letter in the alphabet into a row of black and white beads? Or rows of  dark blue and light blue bottle-tops as in the picture below? This way we could make great patterns which could also have a secret meaning. Only other people who knew about the code could work out what we mean. Can you work out the code on the abacus below?

Eight bit binary ASCII ipad

Our eight bit binary ASCII ipad still works when the power is off!

To read the pattern of dark and light blue bottle tops you’ll need to know a code which is often used create the letters of the alphabet – A-Z. This is a well-known binary code called ASCII. Click here to see the full version of ASCII and then see whether you can match the codes to the lines in the image below. Can you use that knowledge to decode the bottle tops now?


See if you can spot which letters of the alphabet appear in the frame of the ‘selfie’ below.

And what letters appear in the ‘messages’ below (clue – it is three versions of the same two ‘words’)? Is anything important left out of the code? What would you do if you wanted to make it more useful? How would you add new codes to it?


What could you use a code for?

You can download the code-maker here.


One thought on “What is a code?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s