Unit 3: Task

Hi everyone,

An interesting example of an ancient code is Scytale, which was commonly used in ancient/classical Greece to deliver military messages. This transposition cipher involved a strip of parchment that has been wrapped around a cylinder of wood. A message would then be written on the parchment. When the parchment was removed from the cylinder of wood it would encode the message as the letters would be rearranged and the message unreadable. To decode the message the recipient requires a cylinder of wood with the exact same dimensions to wrap the strip of parchment around and make the message readable again.

The Scytale Cipher could be used to inspire a lesson about encoding and decoding messages. Students could be introduced to the Scytale Cipher and make their own following the video linked below. How the cipher was used to encode and decode messages could be discussed with students. This discussion could then be linked to how computers encode and decode messages. In this discussion, ensure to highlight to students that like computer encryption the Scytale Cipher had a key (the cylinder piece of wood). Also, an interesting aspect to mention to students is how the Scytale Cipher is quite simple and thus can be easily deciphered, unlike computer encryption.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cooJOp7ah4


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