Codes and Ciphers


*This course is intended for lower elementary students


Class Schedule

Thursdays 5:00-5:50 pm PST

Jan. 11, Jan. 18, Jan. 25, Feb. 1, Feb. 8, Feb. 15


Note: Classes are listed in PST, click below to convert time to your time zone.

Course Overview

Did you know that armies used to use flags and torches as a way to send messages during battles? Did you know that the Rosetta Stone is one of the hardest codes to ever be cracked?

Cryptology, or the use of codes and ciphers, can be traced all the way back to ancient times. A cipher is a secret code made up of encrypted text so that information can be shared secretly and can’t be understood without a “key. ”The ancient Greeks used a scytale, a cloth wrapped around a stick with letters written vertically. Julius Caesar, who shifted letters as a way to send secret messages to military leaders in a cipher we now call the Caesar Shift.  

Understanding how to crack a code requires strategic thinking, creativity and precision. In this course, we will try our hand at both encrypting and decrypting messages using various famous ciphers and codes while exploring their importance and impact throughout history. 

Student Outcomes: 

  • Explore how ciphers and codes have been used throughout history
  • Encrypt and decrypt text using a variety of different ciphers
  • Examine ways that codes and ciphers are still used today

Student Experience

Pattern Seeker




Your Teacher: Katie Kelly

Katie Kelly has worked as a teacher and educational consultant for over 15 years in independent and public schools, including 7 years at the Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA. She received her Master’s in Elementary Education at USC Rossier School of Education with a Certification in Gifted Education . She has continued to be passionate about politics surrounding gifted education and the challenges of meeting the needs of gifted learners, and is currently the Director of Learning at Cresconova.