Morse Coding


Project Description

Students will explore the history of human communications starting with cave paintings and learn how communications have evolved to modern-day wireless communications devices. In the process, they will create two devices that have allowed people to effectively communicate with one another: a traditional wired telegraph and a modern-day “wireless telegraph.” Students will begin with the wired-telegraph project and will learn—and make—their own electromagnets which will serve as the central part of their design. They’ll then create a key and a register and power up their system with a battery. Once done, they’ll learn about Morse Code and use it to communicate information with other students within the classroom.

After completing their wired telegraphs, students will learn about wireless communications and create a device that acts as a wireless telegraph. Students will learn about radio waves and explore first-hand how they can be used to transmit and receive information. As they develop their devices, students will learn all about circuits and electronics, then use their devices to wirelessly communicate with each other.

Two girls working on morse code project

Key Concepts

Electromagnetics, circuits and electronics; radio-wave properties; information technology (digital vs. analog signal signals & reliability); encryption and decryption.

Students Take Home

Completed wired-telegraphing system (complete with batteries) and wireless-communications device (complete with batteries).

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) support for middle-school learners:

Performance Expectations Arrangement(s):

MS-PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

MS-PS4: Waves & their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-3: Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.

MS-PS4-3: Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.