Bletchley Park, once the top secret home of the Second World War codebreakers, is a vibrant heritage attraction where school groups can step back in time to experience the stories of the extraordinary achievements of the men and women who worked there.
Itinerary: Codes and Ciphers
Provider: Bletchley Park Trust, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Subjects: History, Mathematics, Computing
Key Stage: 4
Educational visits focus on wartime history, mathematics and computing. The Codes and Ciphers workshop explores encryption techniques that have been used throughout history. Students tackle complex processes and are introduced to mathematical techniques, such as modular arithmetic and binary addition, to solve a codebreaking challenge. They also have the unique opportunity to see a genuine Enigma machine.
10:30am: Arrival and introduction to the visit.
10:45am: Timings and order of activities may vary, but a typical day begins with a guided outdoor tour around the site, hearing the story of Bletchley Park and what it was like to work there during the war. Students take part in interactive activities to help them understand the role of the wartime workers and explore the fascinating journey of a message, from encryption to interception and intelligence.
11:45am: Take part in a hands-on workshop, selected in advance from the choices on offer. In Codes and Ciphers pupils learn about different methods of encryption and crack ciphers to find out the identity of a spy. They need to work together and use their best problem-solving skills as they tackle each task. All workshops involve an interactive demonstration of a genuine, working Enigma machine that was used in Germany during the Second World War. This provides a rare opportunity to experience exactly how it was operated and find out why the Nazis thought this cipher was unbreakable.
1pm: Packed lunch in the surroundings of a wartime hut or, in fine weather, in the beautiful grounds of the park.
1:30pm: Explore other aspects of Bletchley Park during self-guided time. Watch Alan Turing’s famous Bombe machine in action and find out more about his work, experience the atmosphere of the wartime codebreaking huts or visit the cyber security exhibition to bring the story of the park right into the 21st century.
2:30pm: End of visit.