Make Scytale by Ahsan_Maulana


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									Make a scytale                                       Background
Investigation - Decoding and analysing information   Spies need to keep their messages secret. This activity demonstrates a simple
                                                     low-tech way of encrypting data.
 To build a scytale and demonstrate the              Steps
 concepts of coding and code keys in a
 physical way.                                       You will need:
                                                        • pencils, A4 paper, rulers
 Age range (years)                 Subjects             • tape and scissors for sharing
 7   8   9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16    Art and              • some kind of rod (thick pens such as markers are ideal).
                                   Design, History   1. This coding method may have been used by ancient Greeks in military
                                                        campaigns. It is often called the ‘Spartan cipher’. Can students imagine
                                                        what sort of messages were passed on in this way?
                                                     2. Ask students to cut their sheets of A4 paper into strips about a centimetre
                                                        wide. It is important the paper strips are straight. (The marked up cutting
                                                        sheet on page three may be useful).
                                                     3. Give students the activity sheet on page two and ask them to follow the
                                                        instructions for making a scytale.
                                                        • What would happen if you were caught carrying your message and the
                                                        • How could you make it more difficult for others to find out the message?
                                                        • How could you let another agent know the size of the rod they need to
                                                          use to decode messages (essentially the ‘key’ to the code)?

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Make a scytale – Activity Sheet

                                        1. Attach a paper
                                        strip to the rod with
                                        a small piece of

                                        2. Wrap the paper
                                        strip tightly around        4. Write your
                                        rod making sure             message on the
                                        edges meet but              paper along the
                                        don’t overlap.              length of the rod.

                                             3. Fix the strip
                                             in place.

5.   Carefully unravel the paper strip. See how the words have been broken up.
6.   Swap your unravelled strip with a classmate. Can you read the message on the
     strip you have been passed?
7.   Re-wind the strip around a rod to clearly reveal the words. What happens if you
     use different sizes of rod?

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