Critical Thinking Morse Code Pen Pal Activity

We have really been enjoying writing back and fourth with our pen pals! We have two sets, and they are both so awesome and engaging!

This last round, we received a mysterious code! My 8 year old quickly got to deciphering it, but was really stuck without a key, and he was not familiar with Morse code just yet. So I told him to google it and see if he could come up with any ideas before asking his friend. He typed in "Code with dots and lines," this is what he got:

I let him figure it out rather than just telling him what it was. His face lit up when he found it right off the bat based on his google inquiry. From there, I pulled up a brief video to watch on the history of Morse Code:

Lastly, he had asked for a reference so he could decode the letter, you can click the chart below and download it for free to print!

It took a few minutes to go through and decode all of the characters. He decided not to try and figure the code out until the very end, as there was a discrepancy in the second word. This was a really good choice, he subconsciously decided he needed more context in order to solve it correctly.

He was determined! All of his hard work was coming together!

The most interesting part to watch was him solve it regardless of the few mistakes. He talked it out with me and his thought process went like this:

1. It likely is a joke, because of the question answer format.

2. "Wing" it references something that flies (he then used this for the 3 letter word in the question.)

3. "Bisd" may be "Bird" because R and S are close in the alphabet.

4. "Ti" may be "To" again the I an the O are above each other in our chart.

5. He then applied this thought process throughout bouncing back and fourth until he decoded it.

6. He typed the joke into google to see if it was a common one to see if he was correct, and it was!

He decided to write back with a little Morse Code too!

It was really awesome to watch all of the processes and skills he deployed in order to write his pen pal back. A great lesson on patience, research, critical thinking, and language arts. <3

was th

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