Possible classroom resources include: Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing by Paul B. Janeczko; Braille for the Sighted (Beginning Braille) by S. Harold Collins; Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Burchac
As an opening to this lesson, consider creating an encrypted message for students to decode by the close of the school day. Students may work individually or in small groups to decipher your message. Set aside time at the close of the day to see if anyone was successful as well as how the discovery was made.
Encourage interested students to investigate codes that are in their world and they may not know it, such as Braille. Organize research into this topic into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.
During World War I and World War II, secret codes were used to send messages that were to be decoded only by the recipients. Such was the case with the Zimmerman Telegram in World War I. Ask students to investigate this telegram and its history. Can they decode the message today?
During World War II, Navajo Indians worked to decode messages from the Allied enemies. Encourage students to research this group of heroes and uncover what their contribution was to the eventual success of the Allied Forces.