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Lochinver House

Maths Enigma Workshop

The secret world of codes...


On Wednesday, Years 6 to 8 attended a code breaking workshop which included a demonstration of a real Enigma Machine!

Here is what some of the boys had to say about their day:

'On Wednesday 21st November, Tom the coding expert came in and showed years 5-8 all about many different types of code and how to decipher them. He started by saying that there are many different types of code and not all are secret like a barcode or a dress code.  He introduced himself using a Caesar Cipher which is the alphabet but starting with any letter. He also showed us a random alphabet which has over 400 septillion possibilities. Next he showed us a Morse Code message spelling Lochinver.  Did you know that there was an American pilot captured by the Vietnamese and held hostage. Then they made him broadcast a message saying the living conditions were good and while he did that he blinked 'TORTURE' in Morse Code.  Then finally we were shown the legendary Enigma machine.  It worked using 3 cogs with a 2 digit number on the inside of the cog and some plugs.  You would set these according to the day and type in the message, which would change the code. When we typed in 'hello' it came out as 'vjhxz'.  The receivers would have to know the same settings of the plugs and cogs then type in 'vjhxz' and 'hello' would come out. This was the most effective code to use because if you tried all the possibilities you would take over 5 trillion years.' -  Robin - Year 7

'On Wednesday 21st November  Bletchley Park visited our school!  Our codebreaking experience continued during our double lesson. We learnt about many different codes such as Morse Code and different ciphers such as Caesar cipher.  We all had a great day and even got to have a go with the Enigma machine that the Nazis used and it was also in The Imitation Game. It was a fabulous day and I would recommend it to anyone as the experience was a once in a lifetime.'  - Zachary - Year 7

'The codebreaking workshop was amazing! It was really cool to see an actual Enigma machine used by the Nazis, and in a film! Cracking the codes was really fun, and the experience was awesome!' - Alexander - Year 7

'It was very interesting and fun.  I particularly enjoyed pressing the buttons on the Enigma machine which was used by Nazis in World War II.'  - Toju - Year 7

I thought it was very interesting with the man who was captured and used blinking for a Morse Code which coded to 'torture' but at the same time saying what the enemy was telling him to say.'  -  Aretino - Year 7

'I thought that the code breaking on Wednesday was fun and interesting and I learnt lots about code breaking and Enigma Machines.' -Zac - Year 7

'The ciphers were very interesting and he showed how they were used in real wars.  I liked the activity that he made us do.' - Mateo - Year 7

'We enjoyed learning about all the different types of coding.  We particularly enjoyed when he said that you would shave off your hair and tattoo a secret message to get passed your enemies.  In general we enjoyed the session, but we would enjoyed using the machine more.' - Daniel - Year 6

'We all enjoyed figuring out the code on the sheet of paper.  Also learning about non-secret and secret codes.  Another thing we enjoyed was learning how the Enigma Machine functions and that it was one from WWII. Overall all of us thought that the workshop was really fun.' - Sebastian, Thomas and Tharnan - Year 6