Double Vision

Codes and Ciphers 

In Double Vision, Linc has to decode messages to find this dangerous artifact (you’ll have to read the book to know what that artifact is…). Codes and ciphers are all around us—just look at traffic signs, and other symbols that give us information without using words. But those codes aren’t really secret.

Secret codes are still used by agents today—and you can learn how to hide messages to your friends by using codes too. Want to know how? Stick around…

Before we start, the most important thing to know about codes is that in order to decipher them, you have to know the key (like unlocking a box). Without the key, you can only guess, or try to crack the code by figuring out this key.

Hobo Signs in Double Vision

Did you read in Double Vision how Linc had to decode that hobo sign? Hobo signs are a type of pictograph (that means a picture sign) that were used by people who'd hitch rides on railroad cars. 
A cat means 'a kind lady lives here'; look here for more information on hobo signs.

Can you think of ways you could use hobo signs to communicate with your friends (use sidewalk chalk, not a Sharpie...) ?

Unbreakable codes

No code is unbreakable, but sometimes the key gets lost (don’t you hate it when that happens?). Codes that no one has been able to decipher are the Beale Cipher, and the KRYPTOS sculpture—it sits outside the CIA headquarters, and still has portions of code that no one has been able to crack. 

Codecracking Games Online

Think you have what it takes to crack a code? Check out these cool games for codebreakers like you…

NSA Kid page 

CIA Games for Kids 

Making your own code

Want to create a code to send secret messages to your friends? The easiest way (aside from pig-Latin, which is way too easy to crack) is to create a quick code system for words you use a lot.

Like this:

Linc’s house: L
Sam’s house: S
Play Racing Mania: RM
After School: AS

So if Linc wanted to tell Sam he’s coming over to Sam’s house to play Racing Mania after school, the code would be SRMAS.

For more ideas on different types of codes, be sure to read Double Vision. You can learn how to decode messages right along with Linc.

Or check out this book on codes just for kids called Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes and Ciphers by Paul B. Janeczko


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