Code-breaking challenges

Mairi Walker, The Open University

Mairi Walker, The Open University

Late last year, pupils from St Paul’s Catholic School in Milton Keynes gathered only 3 miles away from Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing famously cracked the Enigma code during the Second World War, to take part in their own code-breaking challenge.

Small teams of Year 9 pupils battled it out in a series of tasks requiring them to decrypt secret messages as quickly as possible.

The event was organised by me and my fellow Open University maths PhD student and STEM Ambassador, David Martí Pete. We were aiming to give pupils a broader sense of what maths is really about: solving problems.

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