Friday, April 24, 2009

Caesar Cipher Search (five times fast...)

I've been getting a lot of hits from people google-ing "Caesar cipher." For that reason, and also because it's so cool, I'd like to direct you to the University of Southampton's National Cipher Challenge. The "teacher's pack" is full of lesson plans, worksheets, and a printable cipher wheel.

Check it out:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Caesar Cipher

There were three days left before Spring Break and I had just finished a unit in geometry, so rather than start anything new, I decided to teach my geometry kids some cryptography.

Of course this went well, since every kid (and most adults, I would assume) think basic cryptography is cool. We made cipher wheels and talked about the enigma machine and I got the most rapt attention I have EVER received while teaching.

After teaching simple Caesar ciphers (where you basically just shift the alphabet), I challenged the kids to write sentences and told them that I could break any of their codes (there are only 25 possibilities for Caesar ciphers - they're really easy to break - and I told them this, but the kids think I am AWESOME). Messages included:

-Yay! Spring Break is almost here!

-Ms. Twine is crazy

-First period is the best math class

-Math is my favorite subject

And then, I found an anonymous note left on my desk.


Which is, decoded: I decided to take stats.

I have no idea who wrote it, but someone in my fifth period geometry class has decided to take my AP Stats class next year. AND THEY TOLD ME IN CODE. I don’t think it gets cuter than that.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Get Off My Lawn!

Though it’s spring break this week, I just can’t get myself to calm down and take time off.

For example, on Saturday I went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant, Alexander’s Tavern (Tip: Order the Macaroni and Cheese from the kids menu – that plus a gin and tonic = absolute heaven). I walked past Max’s on the way home and saw what looked to be a fight brewing outside and I almost ALMOST walked right over there to tell those people to stop fighting and I was ready to break it up. And then I became sane again and remembered that I was not in school. And also that the last time I broke up a fight I ended up on the ground.

I also almost ALMOST told a kid at the mall yesterday to take off his hat.

Someday soon sanity is not going to prevail and I’m going to get myself in trouble.