Making necklaces that spell our names in Morse code- the preface to learning to code computers.

Knowing a little code never hurt anyone. Since the Eldest is currently studying the invention of Morse code, I’ve been enchanted by what I’ve learned (yes, the home educators boon- always learning something fascinating I somehow managed to overlook as a student).

A HISTORY OF MORSE CODINGS

Morse code was developed around the same time as the electrical telegraph. In 1836, artist Samuel F. B. Morse, physicist Joseph Henry, and inventor Alfred Vail created the electrical telegraph system to send electric pulses across great distances. Since the system did not give you the capacity to speak or hear noises, the inventors came up with a code which allowed them to communicate using only the electric pulses sent by the telegraph.

Made up of dots and dashes, Morse code evolved over time. At first, the dots and dashes were printed out by the telgraph machine and read by a trained operator. As time went by, people were trained to hear the “dits” and “dahs” by ear. The news that you had a telegraph waiting meant that someone was sending a very important and timely piece of information to you. Soldiers’ wives often dreaded the telegraphs when their husbands were on the battle front.

With the invention of the telephone, most people switched their attention from the telegraph to the phone. But Morse code and the electrical telegraph continued to be used for military and diplomatic communication.

SAMUEL MORSE: ARTIST AND INVENTOR HANDOUT (free PDF)

CRAFT: MAKING MORSE CODE NECKLACES

This crafting endeavor was inspired by Classic Play, a great online resource for ideas on how to play all day.

We used this copy of the Morse code to print out and “spell” our names.

The Eldest coded for us.

It would be a pity to go through this craft without honing our counting skills….

The Prophet counted out ten beads for each of the ladies to paint.

The Gnone looked on carefully.

The Gnome lines up her pieces into “stripes” to check for broken or bum pasta.

Now the painting of pasta dashes began.

Little B. painstakingly paints a pasta shell.

Stringing our beads took a little time.

The thin white beads were added as “spacers” between each Morse code letter.

We strung the dashes and dots backwards so the necklaces would “read” our names correctly.

The Gnome proudly displays her Morse name.