Lesson 3.2: Encoding and Decoding Data, Part 2

Learning Objectives:
  • Students will continue gaining intuition for finding patterns in given sequences and learning methods to encode and decode letters and numbers.
  • Students will discuss how language translation can be a form of encoding and decoding and how this differs from other types of codes.

Do Now: 

YouTube Video

  • Do you think it is difficult to build a set of rules to translate between different languages? Why or why not? 
  • What are some of the problems you might run into when translating?

  • Today, there are approximately 6800 distinct human languages in the world. Language is one of the main barriers for communication between people from different parts of the world. 

  • Translation allows the exchange of ideas between two cultures to be conducted more easily.

  • Translation is an example of encoding and decoding of data so that it may be interpreted. 

Activity Part 1

First, decode the statement  3-15-4-5 using the pattern shown above where 1 = A, 2 = B, 3 = C... 

Now, decode the following Italian phrase "codice". Feel free to use google translate to help you!

 What is different about these two encodings? What is the same?

How might one type of encoding be more difficult than another to decode?

Which type of encodings do you think are easiest for a computer to decode? Which are the hardest?

Activity Part 2: Methods of Coding

Here is an example of an encoded message and the correct decoded answer. Figure out what the method of decoding is.


ARBE          --->          ____________________          --->          BEAR

Now that you know the decoding method, try to decode these encoded messages.

[ENCODED]                                    [DECODED]

OASTERSROLLERC                    ____________________

TOPLAP                                       ____________________

  • How is the decoding method used above similar to a letter by letter code such as A = 1, B = 2, C = 3,...? 
  • How is it different?
  • How is the decoding method used above similar to a language translation? How is it different?

Activity Part 3: Creating Codes

Now it's your turn! Open the Encoding and Decoding worksheet and create your own encoded statement. Then, give your encoded message to a partner to see if they can figure out what method you used to encode your message. After your partner figures out the rules you used, they should try to decode your message. Either click on the link above or the image below to get started.

Encoding and Decoding Worksheet

Lesson 3.2 Wrap Up:

  • Was your code decoded?
  • Were you able to decode your partner's message?
  • Was your code more similar to a letter by letter encoding or a language translation? What about your partner's code?
  • What makes a code easy or difficult to solve?
  • Are all codes solvable?
Michelle Cernuto,
22/04/2016, 13:56