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?
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?
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.